SAULT STE. MARIE – Lake Superior State’s new
softball coach, Lori Shimasaki, has ties to the nation’s
hotbed of softball, southern California, and a history of
involvement with elite programs in the West.
Shimasaki grew up near Norman, Okla., and played many games in
the famous Don Porter Stadium, site of the Women’s College
World Series and World Cup of Softball. She played one season at
the University of Oklahoma before transferring to Azusa Pacific
University in Azusa, Cal.
As a freshman, Shimasaki was a pinch runner for Big 12
Conference champion and World Series qualifier Oklahoma. She went
on to set Azusa Pacific’s career stolen base record and earn
NAIA All-America honorable mention as an outfielder in 2006. She
had a career batting average of .371 while playing three seasons at
APU, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal
studies/physical education in 2007.
Shimasaki served three seasons as an assistant coach at her alma
mater before moving on to Chadron State University (Neb.) in
2009-10. Responsibilities at Chadron State included managing
budgets, recruiting, camps and fund-raising. She was involved in
all aspects of the coaching process, including pitching. Last
season, Chadron State was 25-30 overall and placed third in the
Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Eagles’ lineup
included one all-America and three All-RMAC players.
“The athletic department is very pleased to announce the
hiring of Coach Shimisaki,” said Kris Dunbar,” LSSU
director of athletics. “She has a very diverse playing
and coaching background, which should bring immediate positive
impacts to our softball program. We were fortunate to land a coach
who has played and worked with elite-level softball
Shimasaki was a private instructor in southern California. While
there, she was also assistant director of the Night of Champions
Youth Outreach, which is a ministry for 7,000 inner city youth.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to join the Laker
softball program and be a part of LSSU Athletics,” Shimasaki
said. “I am eager to begin rebuilding a softball program that
will take it to the next level. Laker softball has such tremendous
potential to grow and become a competitive power in the GLIAC. My
vision is to develop and train student-athletes to become
successful on and off the field. I look forward to building a
legacy of success here at LSSU.”
Shimasaki is working on a master’s degree in sports
management. She replaces LSSU former head coach Don Myers, who
retired after 21 seasons with the Lakers. She is engaged to
LSSU’s new track and field coach, Matt Sparks.