Tufts University's softball head coach since 2019, Lauren Ebstein has guided the Jumbos to the program’s 11th and 12th NESCAC titles and three NCAA Tournament berths. She is currently in her fifth season leading the program.
Named interim head coach in November 2018, she replaced Cheryl Milligan who stepped down following 15 years as Tufts' leader. The interim tag was removed following the 2019 season.
In addition to winning the conference title in 2019, the Jumbos hosted an NCAA Regional and advanced to the final, finishing with a 32-10 record. The team featured NESCAC Pitcher of Year Kristi Van Meter, and 10 softball student-athletes earned Academic All-NESCAC honors for achieving grade point averages of 3.5 or better.
She then guided Tufts through the 2020 season that was canceled due to Covid. Despite playing no games, Coach Ebstein’s program earned several academic honors. Outfielder Emily Serata received a Tufts Alumni Association Senior Award for academic achievement, involvement in the community, and leadership. Pitcher Cassie Cancemi received the Goldwater Scholarship Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the United States for undergraduates. Team alumna Sara Willner-Giwerc earned a Tufts 2020 Presidential Award for Civic Life.
When the team returned to action in 2021, Ebstein led the Jumbos to another NESCAC title and a berth into the NCAA Finals in Salem, Virginia as one of the final eight teams in the nation. She was selected NESCAC Coach of the Year and along with assistant coach Marly Becker was voted as the NFCA's Regional Coaching Staff of the Year following the team's 21-7 finish. Kristina Haghdan was NESCAC's Pitcher of the Year, Emma Della Volpe received Defensive Player of the Year for her work at second base and pitcher Sophia DiCocco was voted Rookie of the Year that spring. Ten players were Academic All-NESCAC recipients.
In 2022 the Jumbos went 36-12 and went to the NCAA Super Regionals. The NFCA selected Tufts as the Regional Coaching Staff of the Year again. DiCocco was NESCAC Pitcher of the Year and an All-American - Tufts' first since 2017 - and shortstop Josie Steinberg earned conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. Conference All-Academic honors were earned by 10 softball Jumbos again.
As part of the Tufts program's involvement in community service under Coach Ebstein, last fall the Jumbos hosted a Be The Match event on campus to add names to the bone marrow registry. The Jumbos were able to add nearly 300 names to the registry of potential donors for life-saving treatments.
Ebstein, who has an 89-21 record entering 2023, is a 2007 graduate of Tufts who pitched for the Jumbos. She returned to the coaching staff in 2014 and served as Associate Head Coach from 2015-18. She was a member of two NFCA National Coaching Staffs of the Year when the Jumbos won NCAA championships in 2014 and 2015. The 2015 team she helped coach finished 51-0. She spent two years working with Allyson Fournier, a four-time All-American, two-time Honda Award winner and the first Division III player to play in the National Pro Fastpitch League.
Prior to returning to Tufts, Ebstein spent one season at Valparaiso University, working with the pitchers and catchers during the Crusaders' 2013 Horizon League Championship campaign. The Crusaders played in the Ann Arbor NCAA Regional at nationally-ranked Michigan, winning the program’s first ever NCAA tournament game. Under her guidance, a freshman pitcher was ranked 16th in Division I for strikeouts per seven innings, broke the school’s single-season strikeout record and finished the regular season leading the Horizon League in era and strikeouts. During two seasons at Colgate, Ebstein helped the Raiders to a 28-11 mark in Patriot League play, including winning the conference regular-season title in 2011. She coached the Patriot League Pitcher of the Year in 2011.
Prior to her stint at Colgate, Ebstein was an assistant at Tufts for two seasons, including serving on staff in 2009 when the Jumbos finished in fourth place at the Division III College World Series. She was part of the NFCA Division III New England Region Coaching Staff of the Year that spring. The Jumbos have played in the NCAA Tournament nine of the 10 seasons that Ebstein has been on staff (not including 2020), and won six NESCAC Championships (2008, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2021).
Former Jumbo player Marly Becker is in her second season on the Tufts softball coaching staff.
Becker was a tri-captain of the Jumbo team in 2017. A four-year member of the team, she won two NCAA titles as a Jumbo. She was a sophomore on the historic 2015 squad that finished 51-0 and won the Jumbo program's third consecutive NCAA championship. In her freshman year Tufts finished 47-4 and won the national championship.
She graduated from Tufts in 2017 with a Child Study and Human Development degree and is currently in the midst of finishing graduate studies at the Boston University School of Education. She is originally from Yorktown Heights, New York.