CMU’s Jonker Retires After 40 Seasons
MT. PLEASANT – Longtime Central Michigan softball coach Margo Jonker announced her retirement on Monday after 40 seasons with the Chippewas.
Jonker concludes her career as one of the winningest coaches in NCAA Division I history. Her career record of 1,268-808-7 ranks ninth all-time.
“It has been an amazing 40 seasons and I will really miss working with these fantastic student-athletes, but it is time for me to step aside and let someone else be the gatekeeper for this program,” Jonker said in a statement. “It is never easy to leave something you love but I am so thankful to have so many amazing memories.
“Everything accomplished during my time here is because of the young women who have come through this program and one of the things I still enjoy most is when they come back, and I can see what outstanding people they have become. While I will miss the day-to-day coaching, I will always love this sport and the great people who are in it.”
Jonker’s teams made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, won a record 10 Mid-American Conference Tournament championships, 10 MAC regular-season titles and secured a one berth each in the NCAA Women’s College World Series and the AIAW College World Series. During her tenure, Jonker coached eight All-Americans, 53 all-region honorees, 87 All-MAC First Team selections and 39 All-MAC Second Teamers. The Chippewas earned seven MAC Player of the Year and six MAC Freshman of the Year honors under Jonker.
“Simply said, Margo Jonker is a legend in the sport of softball, in the Mid-American Conference and at Central Michigan University,” said CMU associate vice president and director of athletics Michael Alford in a release. “She has had an amazing impact on hundreds of student-athletes, making sure that their success was always the top priority. Her success on the field is unmatched but even greater is the fact that nearly every young woman that went through her program graduated and went on to success in their adult lives. Our entire department will miss her immensely and I hope she stays connected to our program because she will always be a tremendous resource.”
Jonker has been inducted into five halls of fame: National Fastpitch Coaches Association (inducted in 2003), Grand Valley State University (1990), Michigan Amateur Softball (2000), West Ottawa High School (2001) and Metro Detroit Amateur Softball Association (2014). Jonker was also an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic softball team that won a gold medal at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia.
A native of Holland, Mich., Jonker, who won the MAC Coach of the Year a record 10 times, graduated from Grand Valley State in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. She began her coaching career as a pitching coach at GVSU from 1977-79. She also coached softball at Holland West Ottawa High School from 1978-79 and was a volleyball coach at Hope College from 1976-78. Jonker joined CMU in 1979 and took over the head coaching reins in 1980, succeeding Marion Russell.
The Chippewas went 22-28-1 overall and 11-9-1 in MAC play in 2019.