Alexa Datko has rejoined the Georgia Gwinnett College softball program in the familiar role of assistant coach with responsibilities overseeing the Grizzlies’ talented pitching staff for the 2021-22 season.
Datko held the similar position on Head Coach Kat Ihlenburg’s GGC coaching staff for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, helping the program reach its first appearance in the NAIA Opening Round in 2015 and repeating that feat in 2016. She then left to concentrate on studies for medical school. However, a love of competitive softball and coaching returned her to the diamond this fall.
“I really enjoy coaching and giving back to the game,” said Datko. “This (GGC) group has achieved a lot of success, but our goal is to get that final piece in a national championship. It is exciting to play a part in helping achieve that success.”
Datko is no stranger to the high expectations set by Ihlenburg after having played for her as a standout NCAA Division I pitcher at the College of Charleston (S.C.). Datko earned Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year honors during her senior season.
“Alexa brings back a lot of experience to the program while knowing the high expectations of Georgia Gwinnett softball,” stated Ihlenburg, who was an assistant coach at College of Charleston before starting the GGC program in 2013. “The type of pitcher Alexa was coupled with her coaching style made a perfect fit for the type of strong pitching staff we have for the 2022 season.”
Datko, a 2011 College of Charleston graduate, spent three seasons working with Scripps Ranch High School in her hometown of San Diego. She was the head coach for the last two seasons.
Then she came to help Ihlenburg establish the solid foundation for GGC’s strong softball program. The Grizzlies have a 331-124-2 record in Ihlenburg’s nine seasons.
The 2022 GGC softball team is set to have a strong pitching staff, led by junior Alexa Good, the Association of Independent Institutions 2021 Pitcher of the Year and second All-America team selection by the NAIA and National Fastpitch Coaches Association, and senior Piper Wagner, a first NFCA All-America team and second NAIA All-America team choices in the circle and as a shortstop. Good established a new school record with 225 strikeouts and tied the single-season school mark with a .177 opposing batting average. She won 21 games and had a 1.58 earned run average in 26 starts last spring.
Datko is ready to help the Grizzlies have even more success this upcoming season.
“I had a lot of coaches during my playing career. I believe that helps me work with players to enhance their development into better softball players,” she said.