A two-time Coach of the Year in a Great Lakes-centric athletic conference has been named to lead the Maryland softball program, Damon Evans, the Barry P. Gossett Director of Athletics, announced on Thursday.
Lauren Karn 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 became the winningest coach in program history, with 121 victories.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Karn has served as the head coach at Oakland for the last six seasons, posting .500 or better records in each of the last three. 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 the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
“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,” Evans said. “I was thoroughly impressed by her during the hiring process.”
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. That same season, 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 University, in 2008-09. 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, closing out her career with a school-record 534 strikeouts.
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