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Margo Jonker
Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: Grand Valley State
Graduating Year: 1976
Experience: 35 Years
Phone: (989) 774-6688
Email: jonke1m@cmich.edu
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Jonker Videos
Margo Jonker
Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
Release: 05/18/2011

Longevity is rare in college coaching today. However, Central Michigan University softball coach Margo Jonker’s career is the definition of longevity.

Still after 34 years at the helm of the Central Michigan University softball program, Jonker has continues to lead a program that consistently challenges for the Mid-American Conference title while also competing on a national level.

The Chippewas have made 13 trips to the NCAA tournament, have captured the most MAC titles in conference history with 11, and claim one visit each to the NCAA Women’s College World Series and the AIAW National Championship.

In 2010, CMU rebounded from its second losing season in program history with a 27-19 overall record and a 12-8 mark in league play. On April 22, the Chippewas defeated Michigan State, 5-1, to give Jonker her 1,000th career victory, making her only the 11th Division I head coach to achieve that milestone.

Jonker earned her 22nd 30-plus win season in 2013, as the Chippewas finished 33-20, falling in the second round of the NCAA Regionals to Valparasio. The Chippewas finished 15-7 in MAC play, the 28th time Jonker has finished with a winning record in league play. 

Central Michigan claimed its 10th MAC Tournament title in 2013 and earned its first trip to the NCAA Regional since 2003. The Chippewas went 33-20, 15-7 in conference play. 

Over her career, the Chippewas are 1,116-692-5 (.620 winning percentage). Jonker was the 15th coach in NCAA history to eclipse 1,100 career wins, ranking her eighth among active Division I coaches. Her 1,100th victory came in a 4-2 win over Northern Illinois in 11 innings in the campionship game of the 2013 MAC Tournament. 

Jonker's Accolades Range Locally and Nationally
CMU honored Jonker during the 2008 season by renaming the Chippewas' facility Margo Jonker Stadium.

A respected member in the coaching ranks, Jonker has been inducted into four Halls of Fame and was named the 1987 National Coach of the Year. Her most recent induction into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003 is one of the highest honors she could achieve as only 38 college coaches are enshrined.

Jonker also is a member of the Grand Valley State University Hall of Fame (1990), the Michigan Amateur Softball Hall of the Fame (2000), and the West Ottawa High School Hall of Fame (2001).

Not only has the Chippewa mentor won on the collegiate level, but in the fall of 2000 she served as an assistant coach on the United States Olympic softball team that captured the gold medal in Sydney, Australia.

Jonker was involved with USA Softball’s top international teams for several years. In the summer of 1998, she served as an assistant coach for the USA World Championship team that won its fourth consecutive gold medal in Fujinomiya, Japan. In 1997, she was an assistant for the Superball Tournament held at Columbus, Georgia, and the softball National Team Festival held at Midland, Michigan. She joined head coach Ralph Raymond and assistant coach Shirley Topley on the 2000 Olympic staff.

The Holland, Mich., native has collected numerous honors, including NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year accolades in 1987. That season, she led CMU to MAC and Mideast Regional crowns and a fifth-place finish at the College World Series. It was the highest finish for a Chippewa team since an AIAW fourth-place effort in 1982.

Nine times Jonker has been honored as MAC Coach of the Year (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002). She was selected as the NCAA Mideast Region Coach of the Year in 1987 and Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year in 1994 and 2000.

Jonker joined the CMU athletics department in 1979-80, taking the softball reins in 1980. She succeeded Marion Russell, a graduate assistant who guided the team in the inaugural 1979 campaign. When Jonker arrived at CMU, she was assistant volleyball coach in addition to her softball duties.

Softball Program Dominant in the MAC Under Jonker
CMU has dominated in MAC action, leading the conference in all-time wins, winning percentage, regular season championships and conference tournament titles. In fact, CMU has won the MAC Tournament nine of the 21 years it has been completed.

CMU won MAC championships in 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2004 and MAC Tournament titles in 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2013 under Jonker. CMU received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 after winning the MAC championship with a 21-3 record but falling out of the MAC Tournament.

In Jonker’s third season (1982), the Chippewas won a school-record 51 games and captured their first MAC title. The squad advanced to the AIAW National Championships in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where CMU finished fourth with a 4-2 record.

CMU won back-to-back conference titles in 1986 and 1987, and the 1987 team won the NCAA Mideast Region with a pair of victories over Northwestern. That put the Chippewas in the NCAA Women’s College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, where CMU went 1-2 to place fifth.

The Chippewas also came close to advancing to the World Series again in 1997 when CMU forced Michigan to a second championship game in the regional in Ann Arbor.

The Maroon and Gold made four straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history from 1999-2002. The 2002 squad set a MAC record by going 23-1 in conference play for a .958 winning percentage. Impressively, CMU lost its first MAC game of the season and then rattled off 23 straight victories.

The 2004 season started out with a bang as the Chippewas defeated two highly ranked foes in No. 5 Oklahoma (3-2) and No. 4 Washington (1-0) in the NFCA Leadoff Classic. CMU went on to win the MAC regular season title, and those two victories helped CMU earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In 2005, CMU defeated No. 1-ranked and eventual national champion Michigan, 5-4, in the first game of a doubleheader at the CMU Softball Complex on April 6.

Jonker has developed several outstanding individual talents. The list includes eight All-America selections — three-time honoree Pam Stanley and two-time pick Beth Bull, along with Cathy Heator, Linda Pagett, and Kris Tipmore.

CMU has had three Academic All-Americans under Jonker — second-team pick Jen Skuta in 2002, and third-team selections Jeanette Schrand in 1991 and Nicole Weston in 2000.

The Chippewa mentor has coached 30 first-team all-region players, 44 academic all-conference first team picks and 77 All-MAC first team selections. A Chippewa has earned MAC Player of the Year honors six times under Jonker, along with two MAC Pitcher of the Year award winners. Five Chippewas have also earned MAC Freshman of the Year laurels.

Jonker earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Grand Valley State in 1976 and was named GVSC’s Female Athlete of the Year that same year. She remained at GVSC from 1977-79 as a pitching coach while serving as West Ottawa High School’s softball coach in 1978-79. She also served as Hope College’s volleyball coach from 1976-78.

Jonker earned her master’s degree in athletic administration from CMU in 1981. 

The Jonker File
1977-1979 West Ottawa High School (Holland, Mich.) Head Coach  
1977-1979 Grand Valley State College Assistant Coach  
1980 Central Michigan University Head Coach 16-12
1981 Central Michigan University Head Coach 30-13-1
1982 Central Michigan University Head Coach 51-12
1983 Central Michigan University Head Coach 36-17-2
1984 Central Michigan University Head Coach 34-11-1
1985 Central Michigan University Head Coach 44-12
1986 Central Michigan University Head Coach 45-20
1987 Central Michigan University Head Coach 37-14
1988 Central Michigan University Head Coach 38-23
1989 Central Michigan University Head Coach 29-27
1990 Central Michigan University Head Coach 32-22
1991 Central Michigan University Head Coach 39-22
1992 Central Michigan University Head Coach 29-20
1993 Central Michigan University Head Coach 26-26
1994 Central Michigan University Head Coach 32-24
1995 Central Michigan University Head Coach 26-21
1996 Central Michigan University Head Coach 40-21
1997 Central Michigan University Head Coach 41-22
1998 Central Michigan University Head Coach 31-23-1
1999 Central Michigan University Head Coach 41-18
2000 Central Michigan University Head Coach 33-13
2001 Central Michigan University Head Coach 37-20
2002 Central Michigan University Head Coach 39-16
2003 Central Michigan University Head Coach 26-18
2004 Central Michigan University Head Coach 32-19
2005 Central Michigan University Head Coach 29-16
2006 Central Michigan University Head Coach 22-27
2007 Central Michigan University Head Coach 27-20
2008 Central Michigan University Head Coach 25-20
2009 Central Michigan University Head Coach 12-31
2010 Central Michigan University Head Coach 27-19
2011 Central Michigan University Head Coach 32-21
2012 Central Michigan University Head Coach 30-27
2013 Central Michigan University Head Coach 33-20
    Career Record (34 years) 1,116-692-5