This past week, Meade County High School Lady Wave alumnus and Campbellsville University Lady Tiger softball head coach Shannon Wathen was named the Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year. This marked the tenth time Wathen has earned this title and set a Campbellsville University (CU) record for the most of these titles ever won by a coach of any sport at the university.
Wathen’s team won 26 of their last 30 games this season to clinch a share of the Mid-South Conference regular season title. This was also a Mid-South record ninth regular season conference title win for Wathen and her Lady Tigers (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2021). They ended the season tied with Lindsey Wilson with both teams going 27-5 in conference play. The Lady Tigers also went on to win the Mid-South Conference Tournament last week with a 6-5 victory over Georgetown College.
The daughter of Joe and Carol Wathen, Shannon got her start on the softball fields at Flaherty Community Park. She would then go on to be a standout both in softball and basketball at MCHS, the later earning her a scholarship to play at Campbellsville University. By the time she graduated from CU in 1999, she had been named a two-time NAIA All-American, two-time Kodak All-American and ranked in the Top 10 for many CU stat categories including: 1,365 points, 690 rebounds, 600 assists, 275 steals and 59 blocks.
Wathen began her coaching career as a graduate assistant, then an assistant coach, of the Lady Tigers basketball team in 2000. She then became the head coach of the Lady Tiger softball program at CU in 2003. This year marks her 18th season as the programs skipper; a tenure that has been one of the most successful in both Campbellsville and the Mid-South Conference (MSC) history. Wathen is in the Top 20 on the active wins list by head coaches in the NAIA. She entered the season number three on Campbellsville’s list of winningest coaches in sports history, trailing only baseball head coach Beauford Sanders (1,211) and former Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Donna Wise (661). With a 40-11 record this year heading into the NAIA National Tournament, Wathen has now surpassed Wise, her former basketball coach at CU, with 681 wins and counting to move into the second most winningest coach in the university’s history.
On top of the MSC record 9 regular season titles her teams have amassed, she has also guided the Lady Tigers to 7 MSC Tournament Titles and been to the tournament finals 14 of her 18 seasons as the head coach, along with multiple trips to the NAIA Opening Round National Tournament and a trip to the World Series.
Though the Lady Tigers missed last season due to COVID-19, head coach Shannon Wathen didn’t miss a beat getting back into her winning ways again this season. With her team already crowned Season Champions and Conference Tournament Champions in 2021 and awaiting tournament bracket selection for the NAIA National Tournament, Wathen appears to have the softball dynasty she has built at Campbellsville University poised to continue its dominance on the softball diamond for many more years to come.