The following release information was issued by Maryland today and information and photo courtesy of Maryland…
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Two-time Horizon League Coach of the Year Lauren Karn has been named the new head coach of the Maryland softball program by Damon Evans, the Barry P. Gossett Director of Athletics, on Thursday.
Karn, a native of Levittown, Pennsylvania, has guided Oakland University in Michigan to back-to-back Horizon League regular-season championships in 2022 and 2023. The Golden Grizzlies won the 2022 conference tournament and played in the NCAA Tournament that season. Karn led Oakland to new heights as she became the winningest coach in program history, with 121 victories.
“I am extremely excited to be named the head coach of the Maryland softball program,” said Karn. “I want to thank Damon Evans, Mark Sherburne and the search committee for their time and effort through this entire process. Maryland is a program on the rise in the Big Ten and on the national scene and I can’t wait to get going with building relationships with the current members of the program, recruits and department staff. I believe in a culture that empowers the student-athlete with guiding principles and enables our players to become the leaders of the future. Being from the Philadelphia area and growing up on the East Coast, coming home to Maryland is really special to me and our family. The University of Maryland is a world-class institution and I can’t wait to get started in building this program.”
Karn has served as the head coach at Oakland for the last six seasons (2018-23), posting .500 or better records in each of the last three seasons. The Golden Grizzlies won the regular-season conference title in the Horizon League in 2022 with an 18-7 conference mark and a 14-7 record this past season. She was named Horizon League Coach of the Year following both the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
She guided Oakland to the 2022 NCAA Tournament, winning the regular season with a 26-17 record and capturing the Horizon League Tournament championship with a 5-4 win over Robert Morris to punch the team’s ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2015. During that season, Oakland picked up a 10-5 win over Big Ten foe Michigan State. The Golden Grizzlies went on to battle Northwestern and Notre Dame in the NCAA Regional in Evanston.
“Lauren is a proven winner, a champion and knows our region,” said Evans. “We are excited for her to lead our softball program as we enter a new era with the Terrapins. Lauren had all of the attributes we were seeking: someone who has built a winning program; someone who cares deeply about her student-athletes and the program’s culture; someone who has outstanding recruiting connections and contacts. I was thoroughly impressed by her during the hiring process and she has everything we were looking for in a head coach. We are excited to welcome Lauren, Justin and their children, Mickey and Sophie, to our One Maryland family.”
Karn earned her second-straight Horizon League Coach of the Year honor in 2023 after leading the Golden Grizzlies to a 21-21 overall, 14-7 league record in 2023 with three Horizon League First Team honorees, the second-straight Pitcher of the Year, and a Second Team All-League award. Karn mentored Sydney Campbell, in coaching her to Oakland’s career wins record. Karn led the team to its second straight conference regular-season title in 2023. In the conference tournament, the team battled back from two elimination games to force a crucial, winner-take-all game against Northern Kentucky which hadn’t been done in the tournament since 2019.
In the 2022 season, Karn led a historic season with the Golden Grizzlies. While reaching 100 career wins to her credit, Karn became Oakland’s winningest head coach after the back-to-back wins on a doubleheader day against Youngstown State on April 26. Seven Golden Grizzlies received Horizon League honors in 2022 with Campbell named Pitcher of the Year along with First Team accolades while Madison Jones, Jessie Munson, and Lauren Griffith joined her on the list. Cammie Brummitt was All-League Second Team while Madi Herrington was named to the Freshman Team list. Karn herself received the Horizon League Coach of the Year award.
In 2021, Karn helped Oakland reach the championship round at the Horizon League Tournament for the second time in four seasons. In the 2021 season, the Golden Grizzlies broke school records in winning percentage (.619), conference wins (23), home wins (18), batting average (.299), slugging percentage (.450), and fewest strikeouts (154). OU finished the season at 26-16 overall and 23-11 in conference play. The 26 wins tied for the fourth-highest mark in program history and the most since 2015. Five players earned Horizon League postseason honors, as Jones, Brummitt, Griffith, and Campbell were named to the First Team while Jen Krizka was a Second Team selection. The four All-League First Team selections tied for the most in school history, as Oakland’s 2003 team was the only other to achieve the feat. Brummitt later became the sixth player in program history to NFCA All-Region honors.
Karn guided the Golden Grizzlies to a 7-11 mark in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. Oakland raced out to a 6-3 start to the season with feature wins over Clemson, Villanova, and UMass.
In 2019, Karn led Oakland’s offense to single-season program records in runs (241), hits (423), and doubles (69). The Golden Grizzlies earned a 19-10 victory against Georgetown, which broke a school record for most runs in a game. Multiple players tabbed All-League honors for the second year in a row, as Kelsie Swanson (First Team), Jamie Squires (Second Team), and Lauren Griffith (All-Freshman) were awarded by the conference.
In her first year at the helm, Karn led Oakland to a second-place finish in League play at 13-8. The Golden Grizzlies advanced to the title game in the Horizon League Championship for the second time in school history, where they fell to No. 1 seed UIC. Jones was named Horizon League Freshmen of the Year and earned First Team and All-Freshman Team honors. Haley Zemmer (First Team), Kelsie Swanson (Second Team), and Jessie Munson (All-Freshman) also received conference accolades.
Prior to Oakland, Karn spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh. At Pitt, Karn helped guide the Panthers to their first NCAA Tournament bid in program history in 2015, advancing to the regional final after defeating California and Oakland. That same season, Karn and the rest of the Pitt coaching staff was named the 2015 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year after leading the Panthers to a school-record 37 wins.
Karn has 12 years of collegiate coaching experience starting at her alma mater Saint Joseph’s in 2008-09. As the first base coach, she helped lead the Hawks to a second-place finish in the A-10 Conference. Karn also had coaching stints at Marist College (2009-12) and the University of Delaware (2012-14), where she was the lead recruiter for both institutions, before landing at Pitt in 2015.
Karn was a four-year starter at Saint Joseph’s University from 2005-08, closing out her career with a school-record 534 strikeouts. As a sophomore, she went on to break the single-season strikeout record with 186. Karn threw one of just two perfect games in program history in a 9-0 victory over Lafayette on March 19, 2005.
Karn graduated from Saint Joseph’s in 2008 with a degree in English.
Her husband Justin is currently the Pitching Coordinator and Assistant Manager in the United Shores Professional Baseball League. They have a son Mickey and a daughter Sophie.
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