Bears’ former title-winning shortstop takes reins as Cal softball head coach

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Nearly 18 years ago, Chelsea Spencer watched the final strike of the 2002 Women’s College World Series from just to the left of second base. The Bears’ star shortstop was one of the main reasons that Cal made it to the end of the tournament. Spencer batted .308 with a homer across the four games in Oklahoma City that sealed the Bears’ first and only national title.

When next season arrives, she’ll return to her old colors of blue and gold. Spencer became the Cal softball head coach this week, filling the sizable boots of 32-year veteran skipper Diane Ninemire.

Spencer is a former All-American and played professionally from 2005 to 2010. She earned four All-National Pro Fastpitch selections and won the league in 2009 with the Rockford Thunder. Spencer continued her commitment to the game after retiring from playing professionally, serving as assistant coach for top Division I softball programs at Michigan State, Oregon and Texas. She was a member of the Oregon coaching staff that won the Pac-12 Coaching Staff of the Year award in 2016.

During her coaching career, Spencer has fostered the growth of 17 All-Americans, four Academic All-Americans and a Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She’ll bring her talent from both on the field and in the dugout to a Cal roster that looks to move into new confines at Strawberry Creek next year.

Chanun Ong covers softball. Contact him at [email protected].