Legendary CMU Softball Coach Set for MAC Hall of Fame Induction
Former longtime Central Michigan softball coach Margo Jonker is among six new inductees in the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame.
Jonker is joined by Stevi Large Gruber (Akron, women’s track & field), Bryan Bullington (Ball State, baseball), Wally Szczerbiak (Miami, men’s basketball), Ellen Herman-Kimball (Ohio, volleyball) and Briana Shook (Toledo, women’s track & field).
Jonker coached the Chippewas for 40 seasons before retiring in May 2019. She concluded 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.
“We have such a storied history within our conference and it is important to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our former students, coaches and administrators, specifically these six individuals, and their achievements during their time competing in the Mid-American Conference,” MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement. “We are honored to welcome this year’s class to the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame.
“The Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame is a testament to the achievements of those that have competed and served in this great Conference.”
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.
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.