“I am honored and excited for the opportunity to be the next head coach of the Rider University softball program,” said Ortega. “I would like to thank the entire search committee, especially Don, for their belief in my vision as a coach and as the person who they feel is right to lead Rider Softball to future competitive success. I would also like to thank Sandy Michael and Holy Family University for providing me with the support and platform over the last seven years that allowed me to grow personally and professionally, which has prepared me for this next phase.”
Ortega raised the standard of excellence for the Tigers, posting a 162-147 (.524) record in her seven seasons at Holy Family. She drew student-athletes from throughout the country to the Division II program and her teams reached the postseason in each of her last six seasons. Ortega led the Tigers to their first appearance in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship game since 2004 in 2016, a season in which Holy Family posted 30 wins for the first time in its NCAA era.
"I would like to welcome Davon Ortega to the Rider Athletic family,” said Harnum. “She has a proven track record of success as a head coach and I am confident that she will build the Rider Softball program into a consistent winner while doing it the right way."
In her seven years at Holy Family, Ortega coached one All-American, seven All-Region selections and 19 All-League picks. Her teams have also achieved in the classroom, with 45 earning league all-academic honors, three taking CoSIDA Academic All-District and one earning Academic All-America distinction.
Ortega's 2016 Holy Family squad had the highest offensive output in program history – recording the most runs scored (tied with 2014 team), hits, doubles, triples, and total bases touched. Additionally, with Ortega serving as pitching coach, her pitching staff surrendered the fewest walks and posted the second-lowest staff earned run average of Ortega's tenure. In the classroom, Ortega had eight athletes named to the CACC Spring All-Academic team, eight receiving DII ADA Academic Achievement Awards and nine players maintained a GPA of 3.5 or higher earning NFCA Scholar Athlete awards. The team ended the academic year ranked 39th overall among Division II teams with a team GPA of 3.41.
“I know we have a lot of work ahead of us but it is my goal to work tirelessly to instill a sense of pride and success in the program that that Broncs community can be proud of,” said Ortega. “I cannot wait to meet the team and to get to work.”
Prior to Holy Family, Ortega was the head coach for Penn State-Abington College. She was instrumental in the program's transition from an intramural-level team to NCAA Division III membership. In the team's first year of NCAA provisional status, the team had two players earn All-North Eastern Athletic Conference honors and in 2009, the team earned the Team Academic Award for posting the highest grade point average. Ortega also spent two years as an assistant coach at Drexel University from 2002-2004.
She was a four-year starter in the Lehigh University middle infield from 1999-2002. In the 2001 season, Ortega helped lead Lehigh to its first ever NCAA Division I Regional Tournament appearance where the Mountainhawks faced the reigning national champion Oklahoma Sooners. During the regional tournament, Lehigh also picked up their first win in NCAA regional play.
Ortega graduated from Lehigh in 2002 with a degree in Philosophy. She earned her M.S. in Communications from Drexel University in 2006.
Ortega by the Numbers
All-Americans – 1
All-Region – 7
All-League – 19
Academic All-Americans – 1
Academic All-District – 3
Academic All-League – 45