Robyn Newton begins her 18th season as head coach of the Saint Michael's softball team in 2018, and her 19th as a college head coach. She has guided the Purple Knights to eight of the nine winningest seasons in program history, including three 20-win campaigns.
The Purple and Gold finished the 2017 season 12-20 overall and 11-11 in the Northeast-10 Conference, going 12-10 over the final 25 days of the spring. Saint Michael's finished just one game short of qualifying for its first NE10 Championship since 2005, narrowly missing out despite such memorable moments as walking off 2016 NCAA Tournament qualifier Le Moyne College during a doubleheader split and winning the three-game season series from perennial regional power Southern New Hampshire, 2-1. The Purple Knights blanked second-place Saint Anselm College, 2-0, as the only NE10 Northeast Division to do so in 2017. Against Merrimack College, the divisional champion and an eventual NCAA Tournament champion, Saint Michael's lost close 5-3 and 2-1 (10 innings) decisions while being swept in an April 13 twinbill.
Saint Michael's tied its highest win total since 2007 while claiming the program's most league victories since that same 2007 season. The NE10 broke into two divisions in 2013, and the Purple Knights' 10 divisional triumphs were their most since the split. The Purple and Gold was buoyed by its best team pitching in a decade, as its earned run average and opposing batting average was its best since 2007, while the Purple Knights matched their highest shutout total in 10 seasons. They issued their fewest walks since 2010 and yielded the lowest home run total since 2005.
In 2016, Saint Michael's put up some of the biggest offensive numbers in program history, placing among the all-time top 10 in hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs, while Purple and Gold pitchers fanned the most batters in nine years. The Purple Knights' biggest victory came by a 4-2 count over 25th-ranked Southern New Hampshire, which had won the last two NE-10 Championships and would later qualify for its third consecutive NCAA Tournament.
The Purple Knights picked up both of their wins in walk-off fashion during extra innings in 2015, and by 1-0 finals. On April 16, they downed eventual NCAA Tournament qualifier Saint Anselm College in eight innings before defeating Merrimack in nine innings two days later. Saint Michael's rapped 26 doubles, their highest count in five years.
In 2014, the Purple and Gold's challenging schedule saw it play one quarter of its games against opponents that either qualified for the previous year's NCAA Tournament, were receiving national votes or were regionally ranked. Eleven losses came by three runs or less. Among the Purple Knights' highlights were a victory over eventual NE-10 Championship qualifier Pace University, their first road win ever against the Setters.
Saint Michael's capped the 2013 season by winning a three-game series with Bentley University in late April, finishing a spring that saw the squad lose 13 games by two runs or fewer. Among the Purple and Gold's wins in 2012 was Newton's 150th on April 6 during a doubleheader sweep of American International College, and a 1-0 triumph over fourth-place Le Moyne on April 20. Saint Michael's had last downed the Dolphins during regular-season play in 1999.
The 2011 squad knocked off eventual NE-10 Tournament champion and NCAA Tournament qualifier Southern Connecticut State University, 4-3, on April 22. Saint Michael's also defeated postseason competitors UMass Lowell and Southern New Hampshire.
Newton's 2007 squad was 26-14 overall, setting a school record for victories, and 16-12 in the NE-10. The season capped a four-year run during which Saint Michael's was 90-71 overall and 59-52 in the league.
Newton led the Purple Knights to a 25-16 season in 2005. Picked to finish ninth in the NE-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll, Newton's squad finished in fourth place. Saint Michael's earned a berth in NE-10 Tournament for the first time in program history, finishing in third place after going 2-2, including an upset victory of nationally-ranked Le Moyne.
Newton also had a record-setting season in 2004. She guided the Purple Knights to a 21-17 record, the program's first winning season since 1981 - the program was discontinued between 1982 and 1989 - and in the process shattered the program record for victories in a season (9). Newton's charges were 15-13 in the NE-10. For her efforts, she was named the NE-10 Coach of the Year, helping the Purple Knights finish eighth following a 14th-place finish in the NE-10 Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Newton coached softball at a variety of levels prior to Saint Michael's, including as an assistant coach at the University of Vermont from 1995 to 1999. During the 2000 season she was the head coach at Trinity (Vt.) College while also holding the position of interim athletic director.
Before her coaching days, Newton was a standout on the Vermont softball team from 1992 to 1995. She was a four-year starting first baseman and a co-captain, while also being named the Sally Guerette Player of the Year for Vermont in 1994. In 138 career games, Newton had 89 hits, 51 RBIs and 35 runs. Her 42 hits and 23 RBIs as a junior were among the best in program history at the time.
Newton earned her bachelor of arts degree in physical education from Vermont, and earned her master's degree in education from Southern New Hampshire. Newton has taught physical education full-time at Vergennes Union Elementary School for the past 19 years.
|2004||Saint Michael's||21-17||15-13||NE-10 Coach of the Year
|2005||Saint Michael's||25-16||16-11||NE-10 Tournament Semifinal
First Postseason Appearance in Program History
Set Program Record for Conference Victories
|2007||Saint Michael's||26-14||16-12||Set Program Record for Victories
Tied Program Record for Conference Victories
100th Career Victory
|2012||Saint Michael's||6-32||4-26||150th Career Victory|
|1 Season||Trinity (Vt.)||--||--|