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 players.”
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.