Canadian softball legend Jody Hennigar is entering his first year as a member of the Jacksonville University softball team coaching staff in 2018. Hennigar brings over 45 years of playing and coaching experience to JU, having been a member of the Canadian National Men’s Fastpitch Team for over a decade.
“I feel very fortunate to have someone with Jody’s knowledge and experience join our staff,” Ayers said. “I’m very thankful that we were able to get him so quickly. From a pitching development standpoint he was a no brainer, and in getting to know him a little more throughout this process, I have no doubt that he’s a great fit for our program.”
An inductee of six different softball hall of fames, Hennigar was an active player in the game from 1970-2005, and has provided coaching expertise since 1985.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jacksonville University, President Tim Cost, Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert, Head Coach Erica Ayers and assistant Mike Young for the opportunity to be a part of this coaching staff,” Hennigar said. “My goal is to help this team of great student-athletes rise to the next level.”
He travels north to Jacksonville from Tampa, Fla., where he has served as the head coach of the Tampa Mustangs 14U travel team since 2012. Under his leadership, the squad has advanced to two ASA Championships. He also assisted at nearby Saint Leo University with pitching clinics, and has been involved in pitching and hitting workshops with the local Dixie Softball Chapter for the past 10 years. Since 2003, he has served as an individual instructor for aspiring softball players, producing over 30 NCAA Division I athletes, and many more at lower levels.
Prior to his time with the Mustangs, Hennigar served as the head coach of the Florida Ultimate Gold showcase team from 2007-2012, leading the group to three ASA National Championship appearances. He served as a volunteer coach for the Howard University Bison softball team in 2005.
As an instructor, he has long since been involved in international softball clinics, facilitating pitching workshops in the United States, Canada, Guatemala, South Africa, and The Philippines, among other countries.
He served on the coaching staff of the 1985 New Zealand Boy’s 18U National Championship team.
Hennigar’s illustrious playing career has included medal-winning performances in both the United States and his home country of Canada.
His first gold medal came in 1980, winning a Canadian National Championship Gold Medal while competing on the Olympic Bingo Midget Fastpitch Team of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
As a member of the Canadian National Men’s Fastpitch Team from 1989-2002, Hennigar earned five medals, winning top honors at the ISF World Championships in 1992, silver in 1996, and bronze in 2000. He won a pair of gold medals with the squad at the Pan American games, taking home top honors in 1995 and 1999.
His time with the Canadian National Team saw him win two gold, four silver, and three bronze medals at the Canadian National Championships between 1986-2005. During that time, he was a six-time All-Canadian Team selection, winning the MVP Player and MVP Pitcher awards twice each.
Hennigar was a six-time selection for the International Softball Congress All-World Team, with his Canadian squad winning ISC World Championships in 1987, 1997, and 1999.
He also competed in 17 National Fastpitch Championships for the Amateur Softball Association, winning four silver and three bronze medals. He is a six-time ASA All-American Selection, and has been once named the ASA MVP, and twice the ASA MVP Pitcher.
Hennigar’s storied career on the diamond has led to his induction into several distinguished softball circles. He was placed in the Canadian National Softball Hall of Fame in 2009, and the Nova Scotia Softball and Sports Hall of Fames in 2010. Also in 2010, he was enshrined in the ASA Softball Hall of Fame, making it into the ISC Hall in 2011. Finally, he was placed in the Highland Park Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2012.
“Jody has a deep passion for teaching the game of softball,” Ayers said. “His resume speaks for itself, and I truly believe that our pitching staff is in great hands.”
Hennigar attended Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI from 1984-85,and at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, IA from 1987-88.
He resides with his fiancé April. He has a son, Dakota, and daughter, Harmony.