“We are extremely excited to bring in someone with such an illustrious pedigree and background when it comes to coaching softball at the college level,” said College of the Desert Director of Kinesiology and Athletics, Gary Plunkett. “We are more than confident that her expertise will take our already successful program to even greater heights.”
With a career record of 332-212 (.639) across head coaching positions at two universities, Banford brings a wealth of coaching experience and success at the college ranks.
She spent 10 years as the leader of UMD’s NCAA Division II softball program, accumulating six seasons with 30 or more wins, including four trips to the NCAA II Central Regional (2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012). In 2013, Banford’s squad took home the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) regular season crown with a record of 41-13. She was named NSIC Coach of the Year, as her team broke 23 single-season records. Banford has recruited and produced 26 NSIC/NCC All-Conference players, including two All-Americans and two Freshman of the Year award winners.
In her most recent season, Banford was an assistant coach for Canada’s Senior National Team that placed fourth in the World Cup and third in the Canadian Open. She has also served as a guest coach for Canada’s Junior National team events and tryouts since 2013.
Her players excelled off the field as well, where she had twenty NSIC/NCC All-Academic Team honorees, five NCC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll, and two UMD Rasmussen Award/Student Athletes of the Year. In 2009-10, two of Banford’s players were named to CoSIDA’s Academic All-District V team.
The softball field was not the only place Banford found success while at UMD, as she served as the Director of Operations and Video Coach for the perennial powerhouse that is the school’s NCAA Division I women’s hockey program. UMD won two National Championships (2008 and 2010) and were Semi-Finalists once (2009) during Banford’s tenure working with the team. She also assisted in the management and development of 15 Olympians from around the world.
Prior to her time at UMD, she served one season as the interim head coach at Mayville State University. While at the helm, Banford earned the school’s best winning percentage in history, as her team compiled a 26-16 mark (.619). She also had one player become the school’s first softball NAIA All-American honoree. In addition to coaching, Banford served as a Health and Physical Education instructor.
A native of Ottawa, Ontario, Banford was a multi-sport athlete (softball, hockey, basketball, and volleyball) at Seaway District High School in Iroquois, Ontario, before graduating from Valley City State in 2003 with a B.S. degree in Health and Physical Education. She then completed her Master of Science degree in Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science at North Dakota State University in 2005. This past April, she obtained her United States permanent residency.
Banford takes over a program that has won their respective conference four straight seasons, including a 34-6 record this past season that placed their final ranking at number three. Over the past five seasons, they have compiled a 143-56 record, while dominating conference play at 51-7 through the last three seasons.
“I am very honored to be named the new coach at the College of the Desert,” said Banford. “I'd like to thank Gary Plunkett and the softball search committee for this opportunity. I look forward to working with the student-athletes and continuing the success that Coach Armstrong has left behind.”