St. Joseph Post
After 20 seasons as the head softball coach at Missouri Western, Jen Bagley Trotter has stepped down and accepted an offer to become the next head coach at the University of St. Thomas - a Division I school in St. Paul, Minnesota.
"My heart is torn in two pieces," said Coach Bagley Trotter in a release. "I'm excited to go home to Minnesota and make history with the University of St. Thomas, but I'm deeply saddened that I will no longer coach the Griffs. I have put my whole heart into Missouri Western and have had the opportunity to love so many great humans along the way. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity and memories made over the past 20 years."
Trotter came to Missouri Western in 2001 as a first-time head coach after stints as an assistant at Humboldt State and Minnesota State-Moorhead. She leaves with 676 career wins - the most in MIAA history. Bagley Trotter went 676-404 overall and 276-152 in the MIAA, including a 27-19 record in 2021.
The Griffons are only losing two seniors from the 2021 team and are returning nearly all of their starters next season. That made the decision even more difficult for Bagley Trotter.
"We're returning probably one of the best teams on paper that we've ever had at Western," she said on Griffon Sports Insider. "And yet, I feel like I'm leaving the program in really good shape, which as a coach, you want to be able to leave it better than when you found it."
Bagley Trotter was named the MIAA Coach of the Year four times during her career. She led the Griffons to two MIAA regular-season Championships, two MIAA Tournament Championships, 11 NCAA Tournament Appearances and thirteen 30-win seasons.
She's built a consistent winning machine, but Bagley Trotter is more proud of the human connections she's made through the years.
"The thing I'm most proud of is just the culture we've been able to create," Bagley Trotter said. "The humans I've been able to coach and the humans I'm still in contact with that will be forever friendships and lifelong connections."
Bagley Trotter is taking over a St. Thomas program that has been dominant in NCAA Division III, but is making the rare transition to NCAA Division I.
The Tommies have made eight Division III College World Series appearances over the last 19 years. They've won two national championships, finished second once, had a third-place finish and two fifth-place finishes. UST has won 16 of the last 17 regular season MIAC championships.
The NCAA's Division I council ruled in June that St. Thomas could make a formal request to waive reclassification rules for Division III schools seeking Division I membership after a majority of the MIAC presidents voted UST out of the league.
"The opportunity in front of me takes me back home to Minnesota," Bagley Trotter said, "and the opportunity to build something new."
The community is invited to celebrate Coach Bagley Trotter's service and accomplishments on Tuesday, July 6 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Hi Ho Bar & Grill.