In her 18th season, Missouri Western softball coach Jen Bagley Trotter has accomplished something no other softball coach in the history of the MIAA has, win 615 games. Over the weekend on March 23, 2019, Missouri Western beat No. 22 ranked Winona 1-0 making Bagley Trotter the all-time wins leader in MIAA softball history.
After the game, Bagley Trotter joked that time was a key contributor to her success, followed by giving credit to everyone she’s worked with over the years.
“It means I’m old,” Bagley Trotter said. “It means there’s a lot of turnover in the MIAA. It also means that our program has done well and has done well for a while, with us being able to have all those athletes that have been a part of that, assistant coaches, all that goes into it. The head coach’s name goes on it, but it represents so much more than that.”
The previous record belonged to long time University of Central Missouri coach Rhesa Sumrell. Prior to coaching at UCM, Sumrell was the first Missouri Western softball coach back in 1976. She won 194 games at Missouri Western and in 1982 she won NAIA Coach of the Year.
When Bagley Trotter was hired as head coach of the Missouri Western softball team in 2002, campus was a lot different. There was no GISC, the softball field was where the GISC is now and Griffon softball only had two 30 win seasons. Eighteen years later Bagley Trotter has turned Missouri Western softball into a powerhouse by way of twelve 30 win seasons, four MIAA coach of the year awards, four All-Americans, two MIAA regular season and tournament champions and now 615 wins.
Senior outfielder Shelby Uhl, in her fourth year at Missouri Western, could not happier to see the success of her coach and watch the wins adds up.
“I was here for her 500 win and this year we got her 600 win,” Uhl said. “To see it come full circle and just take over the most wins in the MIAA, it was really special to be a part of the different milestones and just to be along for the journey throughout my four years here.”
Not only are Bagley Trotter’s current players enjoying her success, but former athletes like pitcher Jackie Bishop (2011-2014) knew she would reach this milestone.
“I’m not surprised at all, Bishop said. “With all the work she puts in on a daily basis to push us and make us the athletes we were, it’s not surprising she’s now the all-time wins leader.”
Bishop continued to reflect back on her days at Missouri Western and knows todays team feels the same way about Bagley Trotter as all of her previous teams.
“Day-in and day-out, she would push us, but we would have fun doing it,” Bishop said. “Everybody comes to Western because they want to play for her and be a part of a winning culture. When you have a coach that would go to the end of the world for you, wins a lot and has fun doing it, it’s no surprise to see the success she’s had. Even when I was getting recruited here, none of this fancy stuff was here, the GISC wasn’t here and the field wasn’t here. I choose Missouri Western because of coach Bagley.”
The loyalty all of Bagley Trotter’s former player have for her is something her current players notice. Senior outfielder Morgan Frost knows the relationship she’s built with Bagley Trotter will last forever.
“It’s really nice to see when people come back for alumni weekends and see the relationship she has with people that played for her ten plus years ago,” Frost said. “They now have their own kids and families and still have a great relationship with (Bagley Trotter). I know that’s going to be us someday.”
Bagley Trotter has gone 615-371 in her career, all at Missouri Western. The ten winningest seasons in Missouri Western softball history all belong to her, yet she is still always thinking of everybody else first. She is a public figure in the St. Joseph community and in 2016, she was named “Woman in the Workplace” by the St. Joseph YWCA for her work with the organization’s YWCA Choices program that mentors young women in the community. When the athletic department gave her a cake to celebrate her 615 win, she cut and served her own cake. And when asked what made this milestone special, she put her players first.
“It makes me reflect on all the teams I’ve had, and more importantly all the players on those teams that have been a part of every single one of those wins,” Bagley Trotter said. “That’s what makes it special.”
After accomplishing such a milestone, it’s easy to wonder, what’s next for Missouri Western softball? Not for Bagley Trotter, she knows exactly what’s next.
“Win number 616.”