Shaubach honored for milestone
Wendy Alexander/ The Madera Tribune
Members of the Madera Coyotes softball program surround varsity head coach Judy Shaubach after she was presented with a plaque to signify coaching her 1,000th game for the Coyotes’ softball team. Shaubach was honored 15 months after coaching her 1,000th game at a ceremony after a May 4 game against Sanger. The ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five games into the 2020 season, Madera Coyotes softball head coach Judy Shaubach was coaching her team to a victory over Paso Robles during a coastal road trip a month before the global COVID-19 pandemic hit.
After seven more victories, the Coyotes were set to host their first home game of the season and honor Shaubach for coaching her 1,000th game. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit five days before and shut down the ceremony and the rest of the season for the Coyotes.
Almost 15 months later, Madera High School was able to honor Shaubach for her incredible achievement during a ceremony after the Coyotes defeated the Sanger Apaches on May 4 at Zimmerman Field.
“We are now able to celebrate a milestone in a storied career that has spanned over three decades that recognizes a woman that has created her own pathway of success,” said John Fernandez, Madera High School Athletics Director. “We celebrate the 1,000th game coached by Judy Shaubach. The game took place last year before the COVID shutdown and on the road. It was Feb. 22.”
In that game against Paso Robles, pitcher Alexis Galvan tossed a no-hitter and it was highlighted by a Valerie Ornelas home run in the seventh inning for the victory.
Against Sanger on Tuesday, Galvan, again, tossed a no-hitter and the Coyotes won a 1-0 game. Brianah Hamilton scored the eventual game-winning run on a groundout in an old-fashioned pitcher’s dual.
“Noodles (Galvan) had a great game at Paso Robles,” Shaubach said after the game. “How fitting we throw a no-hitter today.”
Shaubach is in her 32nd year at the helm of the Coyotes and has never had a losing season. She has 21 20-win seasons to go with three Central Section Championships. She has won more softball games than any other female coach in Central Section history. Shaubach is currently 678-343 for a .664 winning percentage.
Several dignitaries spoke on Shaubach’s behalf during the postage ceremony, including Madera Unified School District Superintendent Todd Lile, who said he was at the first softball Valley Championship game in 1989 and was at the last one a few years ago.
“This is probably the most incredible accomplishment in Madera County athletics,” Lile said. “Nothing else has happened like it. Since 1972 and Title IX came into existence, there was great animosity about women’s athletics achieving parity. While we celebrate coach’s 1,000th game, we invite you to join us in about a year from now when we cut a ribbon on a new stadium that honors this legendary group of young women. We have been incredibly proud of what they have accomplished and it wouldn’t have happened without the leadership of Judy Shaubach.”
Lile also stated that Shaubach’s achievement may never be duplicated in the district’s history.
“This is an honor no one else has ever achieved in our district and will never be achieved again,” he said. “We are all here to witness it and to celebrate your leadership, changing the lives of hundreds of players and thousands of students in your teaching career.”
Longtime friend and colleague, Marty Bitter, MUSD’s Director of Athletics wrote an article about Shaubach in the district’s newsletter.
“I’ve known her for a little over 30 years,” he said. “In doing that interview, it was pretty amazing about what I didn’t know. This is her 32nd year as a head coach. She played on the very first softball team Madera had. She has played or coached in the program since its inception every year but four. Those four years, she played at Fresno State where she was part of the first Fresno State softball team in 1982 to play in the softball College World Series.”
Bitter also talked about the most endearing thing someone can be called — coach or mom or dad. Shaubach is both.
“In talking to her, that’s at the top of her list — family,” Bitter said. “Her family is most important. She adores her parents, children and grandchildren. The Coyote softball program is part of that family. In order to coach for this length of time, at this level, at this much success, you have to be a family. That family is pretty evident that she has in her program or has coached in her program over the years. People want to be part of something she has to offer. That is far more important than the wins that come with it.”
Over the years, Shaubach has had many girls go through her program and go on to bigger and better things, including MHS principal Robyn Cosgrove, who was a second baseman and former coach with Shaubach.
“She has had a tremendous impact on countless young girls,” Bitter said. “When we sat down to talk about it, she couldn’t list a profession that one of her players hasn’t been in. She’s coached CEO’s, police officers, military, lawyers, it doesn’t matter. I couldn’t think about Bobby Sox and all the girls over the years that went thought that program that dreamed about being a Coyote softball player. That’s an impact.”
Bitter pointed out traits Shaubach instilled on her teams — hard work, never quick and disciplined.
“The formula she has is that her teams always peak at the end of the season,” Bitter said. “The ultimate goal is to win it at the end. Her team is always performing their best when it matters most. We’re proud and I’m honored to know you as a person and we’re proud you are a part of Madera Unified and have given your blood, sweat and tears to our kids.”
Principal Cosgrove spoke about how Shaubach is a mentor to many former players and colleagues.
“I have the privilege of working alongside coach,” Cosgrove said. “She has done a phenomenal job of building an award-winning softball program at Madera High School that we are all extremely proud of. Her win-loss record and championships speak for themselves. More importantly, she has supported the academic growth of her players. Coach has made it a priority to make them accountable to be true student-athletes. We appreciate her commitment to all of our Coyote family.”
Cosgrove (formerly Whitaker) batted .276 during her senior year with 24 hits and 12 RBIs while the team went 24-9 in Shaubach’s fifth year.
“On the road to the 1,000th game, I had the honor of being in her program when she coached her 100th game, or so,” Cosgrove said. “As a former player, I appreciated her dedication to us as players and individuals. She genuinely cared for us and made every effort to support us on and off the field. Coach Shaubach really knew her stuff. She was an excellent coach and took the time to develop us as softball players and as respectable and successful student-athletes.”
When Cosgrove began her teaching career, who did she find herself next to — Shaubach.
“As I began my teaching career, I was also a coach under her at Madera,” Cosgrove said. “It was refreshing to see not much had changed. Coach Shaubach continued to spend countless hours developing skilled softball players. She also developed some of the best student-atheltes. She is commited to make sure her players are academically eligible, and is continually supporting them on their education.”
Cosgrove is amazed at the achievements Shaubach has accomplished while raising a family of her own.
“Over the past 32 years, she has built a program that players want to play in,” Cosgrove said. “All the while, raising a daughter and son of her own that she is so proud of and looking after her mom and dad and helping with her wonderful grandchildren.
“I would like to thank her for her exceptional coaching, being an effective teacher, a wonderful and supportive mentor and, simply, a wonderful woman.”
Shaubach told the audience that she doesn’t really have a job.
“I love what I do. I tell these kids everyday I love my job,” she said.
If it wasn’t for fate stepping in Shaubach may have begun her teaching career in Sacramento or Clovis.
“There were not many jobs in California when I graduated, one in Clovis and one in Sacramento,” she said. I had an interview for a Sacramento job. I was getting ready for Sacramento when I got a call from my mother who was working at La Vina as a secretary. “Mr. Morgan, our principal, wants to talk to you.”
Madera Unified was making a growth position at Thomas Jefferson. I made the trip to Madera to talk to Mr. Morgan. I think it was divine intervention that we had that job opening. I can’t believe what a wonderful career I’ve had. It’s not about the wins. It’s about the players. It’s about getting an education. It’s about being a family. It’s about competing at the best you can be on the field and in the classroom. That’s the success of Coyote softball.”
Shaubach always deflects compliments to her players and coaches. if it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be success that the Coyotes have enjoyed over the years.
“I’ve had some great coaches, including some former players,” she said. “It’s not easy being the head coach. You can’t be successful unless you surround yourself with good people, great kids and great parents.”
In the end, though, it was revealed that a plan is getting green-lit for a new softball and weight room facility that Shaubach has been wanting for years.
“Mr. Lile, thank you for giving these kids what they deserve in a new facility,” she said. “We are getting a new field, locker room and weight room. It’s because of the hard work these kids have put in.”
Shaubach received proclamations from the City of Madera, California Assemblyman Frank Bigelow and Congressman Jim Costa, along with a proclamation from Madera County that is on its way.
Madera High School also presented Shaubach with a giant plaque to commemorate her 1,00th game coached.
“Thank you Madera Unified for allowing me to coach these kids,” Shaubach said.