If you really want to honor Kathy Mangano ’86, G’88, and all that she has accomplished, drop the “Dr.” salutation and instead call her “Coach Mangano.”

When Mangano thinks of all the impactful faculty and coaches who influenced her over the years—Diane Potter ’57, Mimi Murray ’61, Dottie Zenaty ’65, Ed Bilik ’57, G’62, Gretchen Brockmeyer ’66—knowing that she shared the honor of being a Springfield College coach with them brings a smile to her face.

“To be called ‘coach’ at Springfield College is a badge of honor, and nothing makes me happier,” Mangano said.

As a student, Mangano was a two-year captain and four-year starter at first base. She earned First-Team All-American and First-Team All-New England honors in 1985 while posting a team-high batting average of .407. She played in two NCAA tournaments in 1983 and 1986, and ended her career with a batting average of .349.

After graduating, Mangano worked at Ludlow High School for a year while volunteering as an assistant softball coach at Springfield College. When the head coaching position became vacant, she was offered the job and coached for the next 20 seasons, posting a career record of 481-394-1.

One of her favorite memories remains coaching the 2001 softball squad to a 41-10 record, the best mark in the program’s history. Despite the team’s stellar record, they weren’t one of the two Division III colleges that received at-large bids to the NCAA tournament because the team didn’t win its conference.

Interestingly, her other favorite memory is coaching the 2009 team that had a losing record, but still claimed the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) tournament, outscoring opponents 23-2, snapping Coast Guard’s 29-game winning streak, and making an NCAA tournament appearance. 

“That team had tremendous heart,” she said.

Mangano finished her coaching career with five NCAA tournament appearances, a NEWMAC regular-season championship in 2007, won a NEWMAC postseason championship in 2008, and was named the NEWMAC Coach of the Year four times. In 2016, she was inducted into the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Apart from the on-the-field success, her proudest achievement is the softball team winning the Pride Challenge award for four consecutive years. The award recognized the team who earned the most points for its academic achievements, service, and involvement.

Mangano has devoted her time on the national level, serving in numerous roles in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, and in the New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association, acting as president, secretary, and as a member of many committees. Although she retired as head softball coach in 2009, she remains a professor of physical education at Springfield College.