Head softball coach Kate Drohan has built the Wildcats into a perennial power, winning three Big Ten Championships while qualifying for three Women’s College World Series appearances alongside her twin sister and associate head coach, Caryl Drohan.
Drohan led the ‘Cats on an incredible five-year stretch from 2005-09 in which NU compiled a record of 215-77, reached the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament four times and became the first private school in NCAA history to advance to the WCWS semifinals in consecutive years (2006-07). Under Drohan, NU has made 13 NCAA Tourney appearances and has claimed five NCAA Regional titles. On March 27, 2021, the Drohans became Northwestern softball’s all-time wins leaders with a 15-7 win over Wisconsin for their 641st career win.
In the postseason under Dorhan, Northwestern is 36-30 in the NCAA Tournament since 2003, including a 5-4 mark at the Women’s College World Series. In Super Regional play since 2005, the Wildcats have won their Regional five times and advanced to the Regional final eight times.
The Wildcats were ranked in 76-consecutive NFCA coaches polls and 78-straight USA Softball polls dating from March of 2005 until March of 2010. NU spent 27 of those weeks in the top 10 of the NFCA rankings, and earned the program’s first No. 1 vote in 2008 after defeating then-No. 1 Arizona and then-No. 3 Texas A&M to begin the year.
Big Ten dominance is also one of Drohan’s hallmarks. The ‘Cats recorded top four finishes within the conference 12 times between 2004 and 2019, including Big Ten titles in 2006 and 2008. Northwestern also won the Big Ten Tournament title in 2008 and advanced to the championship game of the event in four of the previous seven years. Drohan’s career conference record is 240-132. NU led the Big Ten in total league victories in four-straight seasons from 2005-08.In 2006, Northwestern’s Big Ten title was its first since 1987, and the Wildcats qualified for the Women’s College World Series for the first time in 20 years.
Drohan joined the USA Softball Women’s National Team coaching pool for the 2009-12 quadrennium. She was named the head coach of the 2010 Futures National Team, leading the squad at the 2010 World Cup of Softball. She was slated to coach the National Team at the 2011 Japan Cup before that tournament was canceled after an earthquake and tsunami decimated the host city of Sendai.
Drohan came to Evanston from Boston College, where she had served as an assistant coach and assistant athletic director for facilities.
A much respected and sought-after clinician, Drohan delivers lectures to players, coaches and students of the game across the country. Beyond the softball arena, the business community has shown a strong interest in the leadership tools Drohan has developed within the program, leading to speaking engagements in the management world as well. In October of 2019, it was announced that Drohan had been elected President of the NFCA and would serve a three-year tenure beginning in 2020.
Drohan earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Providence and as a member of the Providence softball team, she was named to the All-Big East team three times.