It’s official. The Yosemite Community College District Board approved Donnie Donaldson’s hiring as head coach of the Modesto Junior College softball team on Aug. 14.
“It’s nice to know it’s a done deal,” said Donaldson, a 1989 Ceres High School grad. “This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t see it as a stepping stone. This can be a place for me for a long time.”
Donaldson, 48, interviewed for the position in May at Modesto JC East Campus.
“There are 115 junior colleges in California,” he said. “I’m lucky to be a coach at one of them. I just hope I can do a great job, make the school proud and help players get to the next level.”
Donaldson formerly coached at Waterford (2016-19) and Ceres High (2007-14).
He teaches biology and anatomy at Johansen High School.
Ceres High amassed a 139-77 overall record, qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs six times and won two league titles during Donaldson’s eight-year tenure.
Waterford had a combined record of 66-35-2 and participated in postseason tournament all four years under Donaldson’s direction.
Waterford collected 19 victories and took third in the Division-V postseason tournament this past spring.
Donaldson has helped developed talent for Stanislaus District high schools through his Ceres-based Tri-County Smash travel softball organization.
“I currently have players playing all over the country at the college level,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson met with prospective Modesto JC players for the 2020 season this past month.
“I’m so excited,” he said. “We start on Aug. 27. That’s the first time I get to meet the girls that are coming out for the team.”
Three players from Waterford plan suit up for Modesto JC next spring, including Donaldson’s daughter Alyssa, Taylor Brewer and Morgan Keeney.
A standout infielder, Donaldson holds Waterford’s career (143) and single-season (49) RBI records.
She’s also the program’s all-time home-run leader (22).
“It’s a situation where I’ll get to watch all of her college games for the next two years,” Donnie Donaldson said. “I’m glad to have her in the lineup. She’s very talented and can hit.”
“When I’m on the field, I’m her coach,” he added. “I’ll treat her like everybody else.”
Donaldson was hired to rebuild Modesto JC’s softball program.
The Pirates didn’t field a team in 2019 due to a lack of numbers.
Modesto JC struggled to 2-37 overall record and finished last in the Big-9 Conference (0-24) in 2018.
“I want to change the reputation of MJC,” he said. “Softball is different. You can have a lot of success immediately if you have a talented pitcher and a well-rounded group of girls. There’s a ton of talent in this area. I hope I get lucky the first couple seasons and land a few blue-chip, elite athletes.”
Donaldson shouldn’t have any trouble adding talent to his program.
He’s made countless connections while running the Rainbow Fields Preseason Tournament the past 13 years.
“I got a good rapport with all the high school coaches that go to the tournament,” Donaldson said.