Christie Novatin named new head softball coach

Novatin arrives at Penn following four years as the associate head coach at UConn, where she helped lead the Huskies to back-to-back regular season Big East Championships.

While coaching at UConn, Christie Novatin speaks with one of her players.
Image: Penn Athletics

Christie Novatin, a highly respected coach with championship experience at the University of Connecticut and in the Ivy League, has been named head softball coach at Penn. Novatin arrives in University City following four years as the associate head coach at UConn, where she helped lead the Huskies to back-to-back regular season Big East Championships for the first time since 1997.

“We are thrilled to hire one of the rising stars in the softball coaching world in Christie Novatin,” says Alanna Shanahan, the T. Gibbs Kane, Jr. W’69 Director of Athletics and Recreation. “She was instrumental in UConn’s recent turnaround and has won at every stop during her coaching and playing career. Her energy and leadership came through during our competitive national search and her experience in the Ivy League will be beneficial as she takes over at Penn. We can’t wait for her to get started.”

Novatin began at UConn in 2019, and with Head Coach Laura Valentino, they turned around a program that had 10 straight losing seasons into one of the top programs in the region. The Huskies compiled a 110-58 record the past four seasons, including an impressive 51-18 mark in the Big East. The past two seasons, UConn was 72-33 (39-9 Big East) and won the 2022 and 2023 Big East regular season titles.

“I’m thrilled to be the next head coach for Penn’s softball program,” Novatin says. “I want to thank Alanna Shanahan, Kevin Bonner, Josh LaRosa, and their incredible staff for welcoming me to their family. I am ready to connect with the student-athletes through the game we love and support them in their journey to success in the classroom and on the diamond. I believe in the future of Penn softball and am excited to compete as a Quaker!”

As the team’s hitting coach, Novatin’s offense broke team records for most runs scored, RBI, stolen bases and walks during her four years. In 2023, UConn was seventh nationally in stolen bases per game, 17th in on-base percentage, and ranked in the top 50 in batting average and doubles per game. She recruited and developed Big East Freshman of the Year Grace Jenkins and coached players who set program marks in RBI, doubles, walks, total bases and stolen bases.

Off the field, Novatin was responsible for team travel, equipment, and alumnae engagement while working with the head coach on fundraising for a new softball stadium.

Prior to her time at Connecticut, Novatin was an assistant coach at Princeton, where she helped lead the Tigers to a pair of Ivy League Championships. During her four years, she increased the team’s batting average and slugging percentage. She served as the acting head coach during the fall of 2017, leading all areas of the program.

Novatin also spent two seasons at Albany, helping the Great Danes to the 2014 America East Championship, and also was an assistant at Rider (2012-13) and Georgian Court (2010-12).

The Farmingdale, N.J. native was a four-year letterwinner at Hofstra, where her teams won four CAA regular season titles, three CAA Tournament titles, and made three NCAA Regionals under Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Edwards. She earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Hofstra in 2010.