In 2014, Katie Jansson was a senior catcher for the Iona College softball team. She would go into every practice and game with a purpose to get better individually, leading her fellow teammates while dealing with the fact that it was her last year as a student-athlete at Iona.
Jansson ended her collegiate career on a high note, leading the Gaels to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and was named to the conference All-Tournament team.
Jump four years later and Jansson, who was completely unsure on what she wanted to do after college, is now sitting in her office in Mulcahy Gymnasium as the new head coach of the softball team.
Jansson’s journey to this point went by so fast that she has never got the chance to look back at how far she has come.
“It’s been an incredible journey since I was a student-athlete at Iona, coming back for the 2016-17 year as an assistant and seeing how things are run from the other side,” Jansson said. “Now being a head coach, I’m using all my experience from playing and being an assistant coach to help the players on the team have the same experience I did. It’s a dream come true and I’m so lucky.”
Jansson took over the head coaching job from two-time MAAC Coach of the Year Melissa Inouye, who accepted a head coaching position at Fordham University back in June.
Jansson got into coaching right after college when Inouye helped her get a job at a baseball/softball camp where she coached kids.
“That summer after I graduated, I was completely unsure on what I wanted to do with my life,” Jansson said. “Coach Inouye was able to help me work at a baseball/softball summer camp. I thought it was quite fun and I didn’t want to give up the game just yet because I was completely devastated when my playing career ended.”
Jansson would go on to be a graduate assistant at Manhattanville College, and in 2016, she was an assistant coach under Inouye at Iona. She got her first taste at head coaching last season at Monroe College, a junior college located five minutes away from Iona.
Junior college is completely different competition wise from Division I, but Monroe allowed Jansson to run her own program and have things done the way she wanted.
“The junior college level is a little bit different from a highly competitive NCAA where I came from,” Jansson said. “It was cool to be able to run my own program and have things exactly the way I want them.”
Jansson guided Monroe to a 21-19 record and a 2018 NJCAA Region X tournament berth. It was the first time the Mustangs went to the tournament at the NJCAA Division I level. Besides the success on the field, Jansson was pleased that she was able to help her players receive a good student-athlete experience.
“It was rewarding working with the kids because some of them didn’t have the best experience prior,” Jansson said. “When I was hired, that was something they harped on about. They wanted [the] kids to feel appreciated and loved. That was something I dove into and had fun with.”
Throughout Jansson’s coaching career, she has leaned on her time as a catcher at Iona to help her be a good coach.
“I was a catcher so I was able to see the whole field at all times,” Jansson said. “I think that helped me transition into coach easily because I had to understand the other teams’ offensive strategy in terms of pitches, reading swing and knowing what our defense needs to do.”
Jansson also plans to use the knowledge and advice she gained from Inouye and apply it to her coaching style.
“When playing and working for her, the one thing I tried to do is be accountable for everything you do and come in everyday with a purpose,” Jansson said. “I want to teach that to the girls. It’s not about showing up to practice and taking ground balls. You got to have a purpose when doing that. We are not just doing those things just to do them. We are doing it for a reason and to achieve a common goal.”