Cromer chosen to lead Lawrence softball program

Tracy Cromer in dugout
Tracy Cromer is Lawrence's new head softball coach.

APPLETON, Wis. -- Current assistant coach Tracy Cromer has been chosen to be Lawrence University's new head softball coach, Director of Athletics Kim Tatro announced today.

Cromer has been one of the Vikings' assistants for the past two seasons and succeeds Tatro, who stepped down in April after 27 seasons to become Lawrence's Director of Athletics.

"I am excited and humbled to lead the Lawrence softball program," Cromer said. "I want to thank Kim Tatro for entrusting me with the program she has led for the last 27 years. The impact she has made is evident in the continued involvement and support of the alumna who helped lay the foundation we will build upon in the future."

Cromer brings 14 seasons of head coaching experience to the position at Lawrence.

"Tracy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as a head coach to this position," Tatro said. "She has been on the Lawrence staff as an assistant the past two seasons and been involved in every facet of the program. Tracy understands and embraces the culture of athletics at Lawrence. Having a familiar face in the dugout should make the transition for our student-athletes seamless."   

Cromer, a three-time Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, has served as the head coach at four institutions. She started her coaching career in the 2004 season at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul and compiled a 102-97-2 record in five seasons. Northwestern-St. Paul made two consecutive NAIA Regional Tournament appearances and posted three 20-win seasons under Cromer's guidance. Cromer's 2008 squad notched a school-record 28 victories.

Cromer then spent five seasons at Manchester University and led the Spartans to the 2013 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title. Manchester reached the finals of the conference tournament three times in five seasons under Cromer.

Cromer coached at Greenville University for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and led the Panthers to the 2016 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship. She then coached at Lancaster Bible College for the 2017 and 2018 seasons before joining the Lawrence staff.

A 1997 graduate of Bethel (Minn.) University, Cromer compiled a 274-320-4 record. She earned a master's degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in coaching from Texas Woman's University in 2007.

"Having worked with the Lawrence program the last two seasons, I see great potential to bring the program back to the level where we are contending for a place in the Midwest Conference Tournament on a regular basis," Cromer said. "This is a unique and challenging time, but one thing I know for sure is we will never take a day together as a team for granted. I look forward to getting to work preparing for the upcoming year and recruiting more student-athletes to this great institution."

Cromer is just the third coach in the Lawrence program's history, which dates back to 1984. She takes the handoff from Tatro, who had coached the Vikings since 1994. Tatro amassed 424 wins and her combined total of 515 career victories (Tatro had 91 volleyball wins) is easily the most for any coach in Lawrence history. Under Tatro's direction, Lawrence won Midwest Conference championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and made appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament in 1998 and 1999. Tatro was named Midwest Conference Coach of the Year eight times (2015, 2013, 2011, 2006, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1997).

In Tatro's time as softball coach, the Vikings won the Midwest Conference North Division seven times (2015, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1997) and qualified for the four-team Midwest Conference Tournament 11 times.

Lawrence returns seven starters from the abbreviated 2020 season, and that group is led by all-conference and All-Great Lakes Region performers Amanda Karnatz and Ceara Larson and all-conference pitcher Emilia Jackson.