Aug. 24, 2012
DEKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois University head softball coach Christina Sutcliffe completed her coaching staff, retaining assistant coach Jenna Roberts and adding Heather Han.
Roberts, a 2009 graduate of Northern Illinois, was a four-year letterwinner for the Huskies from 2006-09. She returned to her alma mater last season as an assistant coach after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Evansville.
A native of Verona, Wis., Roberts started 146 games in the outfield for NIU and is tied for NIU's single-season record for stolen bases with 26 in 2009 and is fourth all-time on the school's career list with 43. She tallied 100 career hits and had a career-high 36 hits, including four doubles and a triple, as a senior.
"Through her different coaching experiences, Jenna brings a high-level of maturity and composure to our program," said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. "Her passion for NIU and her love for this place as an alumnae allows her to connect the past with the present and where we want to take the program to in the future."
Han comes to Northern Illinois after spending the 2012 season as a volunteer assistant at UIC. She spent two years as an assistant coach at her alma mater, while serving as a graduate assistant in EMU's Student Athlete Support Services department.
Han lettered for the Eagles from 2006-09, starting 180 games, including all 45 games of the 2008 season behind the plate. A native of Lafayette, Ind., she ranks ninth on EMU's career doubles list with 31. Han excelled on the field and in the classroom, as she was named to the 2006 MAC All-Freshman Team and earned Academic All-MAC accolades in 2009.
"Heather is going to bring a fresh look to everything," Sutcliffe said. "She's been involved in two different programs with coaches I respect. I know she's coming from a very educated softball background."
Han earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education reading in 2009 and her master's in sport management in 2011 from Eastern Michigan. She was on the Dean's List all four years.
Han and Roberts competed against one another as student-athletes during their playing careers. Roberts was a four-year letterwinner at Northern Illinois, while Han was a four-year letterwinner for Eastern Michigan. Sutcliffe, who spent the past seven seasons as an assistant at Miami, understands the importance of having coaches that possess a strong knowledge of the Mid-American Conference.
"I think it's extremely important," she said. "It will be nice to have a staff that is very familiar with the MAC. They understand the competitive nature of our league and where we're trying to go as a conference."