Sacred Heart University Executive Director of Athletics Bobby Valentine announced today that Elizabeth "Bippy" Luckie has announced her retirement from her position as head softball coach, following 30 successful years in the position. Luckie will remain within the Department of Athletics in her administrative roles.
"Coach Luckie is the bedrock of SHU softball," said Valentine. "Her Pioneer career has spanned nearly four decades; leading the program with integrity as our head coach for 30 years, earning All-America accolades as a student-athlete and serving as an assistant coach. There is no question in my mind, that Bippy Luckie's name is, and always will be, synonymous with Pioneer softball."
Over the course of her 30 seasons as head coach, Luckie amassed 616 wins, including 31 victories in 2018. That season helped Luckie earn her second Northeast Conference Coaching Staff of the Year award, and her sixth Coach of the Year honor of her career. Luckie was named the NECC Coach of the Year in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1995 and earned her first NEC accolade in 2009. Luckie has led the Pioneers to two NEC championships, 2009 and 2011 and coached five Pioneers squads to NECC championships. Luckie led SHU to a win over Cornell in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, the Pioneers first-ever Division I NCAA Tournament victory.
On the field, Luckie has coached six All-America honorees; an honor that she earned at shortstop while playing for the Pioneers, from 1983-85. She played a role in three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances as a student-athlete; hit .357 for her career and holds single-season records for hits (71) and total bases (110).
Academic success has been a hallmark of Luckie coached teams. Twice during her coaching career, student-athletes have been named CoSida Academic All-America; an honor that combines excellence in the classroom and on the field. Last season, Emily Orosco was tabbed to the third team, joining 1993 honoree Michelle Palmer. Luckie coached student-athletes
"It has been an honor to have been lucky enough to lead SHU softball these past 30 years," Luckie said. "I am grateful for the lifelong relationships that being a Pioneer has provided to me. I thank all of the student-athletes, coaches, staff and administrators that have been part of this tremendous journey."
Pam London, who has served as co-head coach with Luckie for since 2007, will assume all duties as head coach for the Pioneers softball team. SHU opens its 2019 season on February 15 when it travels to the Gardner-Webb Tournament.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT COACH LUCKIE
"With her incredible leadership over the last 30 years, Bippy has left an amazing legacy for the SHU softball program. Not only did she win over 600 games, she helped develop hundreds of women's softball student-athletes both on and off the field. Her lasting impact will be felt for years to come."
– Noreen Morris, Commissioner, Northeast Conference
"It has been one of the greatest honors of my life coaching by Bippy's side for 30 years. The qualities that made her an amazing teammate are the very qualities that made her an outstanding coach! Her passion, her work ethic, and her fierce competitive nature within her sport is unmatched. It is this staff's goal to continue to hold ourselves to the high-standards that Bip has spent her career developing at Sacred Heart Softball. Her retirement is so well deserved, but it will take a great deal of getting use to not seeing her at the other end of the dugout from me; however, I know she will never be too far away from us - especially if we need her!
– Pam London, Head Softball Coach, Sacred Heart University
"Since I met Bippy in the Summer of 2012, I have struggled to find the words to describe such an iconic woman. I realized that the aura of belonging the Sacred Heart Softball Program gives off is an extension of Bippy's personality and leadership skills. She was truly the heart of the program and laid the foundation for all of our triumphs, memories, and friendships. She sets a tone that insists quality work, gratitude, selflessness and pride, while also encouraging personality and a sense of humor. Bippy's unconditional love and unwavering commitment to the program has not only bread successful teams, but built an alumni network that is unmatched. We are all better off for having experienced Bip coach and lucky to call her a friend."
– Carina Zupa, SHU Softball Alumna, 2017
"Bippy you are the epitome of a coach. You trained and instructed us. You directed us. There is no doubt about that. You have impacted the lives of 100s of women from Southington, Connecticut all the way to Rancho Cucamunga, California. You were there for our best moments; you were the one to deliver us life changing news. You were the voice in our heads telling us to make good decisions. You were the first one we called when we needed help. You are the reason that campers became players who became unforgettable alumni. Thank you for giving us 30 years of laughter, lessons, growth, dedication and confidence. 30 years of being a role model, an inspiration, the reason we come back. I am honored and privileged to have played for you. I am even more grateful to have you as my friend."
– Karyn Fortier, SHU Softball Alumna, 2002
"Bippy is and always will be a fierce competitor who demanded a level of commitment and accountability from her players. At the same time, she is grounded to show compassion and to show that there is more to all of this than just softball. That is the aspect, in my opinion, that her players will remember the most. Being cross town rivals, I thrived knowing that Sacred Heart and Fairfield would go at it on the ballfield but then leave that behind at a local dinner. I will miss Bippy's fire and her knowledge of the game and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors."
– Julie Brzezinski, Head Softball Coach, Fairfield University