Jen Consaul Seizes Surprise Opportunity To Lead Army In 2023
In both her playing and coaching careers, Army interim head coach Jen Consaul has learned that sometimes big breaks can happen when you least expect them to.
As a senior at Churchville-Chili High School near Rochester, N.Y., Consaul planned on playing softball at the Division III level before getting her chance to pitch for Canisius College on the Division I stage.
“I was about to go to a D3 school up the road from me,” Consaul recalled. “I wasn't really getting looked at a lot, and Coach (Mike) Rappl just gave me a call. I'd been to a lot of camps of his and some local stuff, and he was like, 'hey, we just lost a pitcher, would you be interested in coming?' I kind of just jumped on that (opportunity) right away.”
After a successful run at the Jesuit college in Buffalo, where she had a 2.56 career ERA, Consaul decided to stay on campus after graduation as an assistant coach for her alma mater.
“After I graduated, I didn't know what I was going to do for work,” Consaul remembered, “and my assistant coach asked if I had ever thought about coaching.”
As an assistant coach at Canisius, Consaul quickly gained the respect of her players for being a knowledgeable coach. Her Canisius players were actually the ones who motivated her to take a job at UNC Charlotte.
“The girls at Canisius told me I could go out and do some things, and I didn't always have to stay in my comfort zone,” Consaul, a former team captain, recalled.
Consaul decided to take a coaching position at UNC Charlotte. It was there that she saw the differences between the college softball experience in the north and south.
“I experienced softball down south, which is way different than softball up north,” the New York native said. “We got to practice outside a lot more. We didn't have to deal with as much snow or practice in a gym or anything like that.”
After a change on the staff at UNC Charlotte occurred, Consaul was approached for a coaching position at Army.
“I was called by a colleague that asked if I was still looking for a pitching coach position,” the former All-MAAC selection said. “She knew my family was from New York and asked if I wanted to come back to my home state.”
Consaul chose to come home. And while coaching changes occur all the time in college softball, Army was in a unique situation last summer when Cheryl Milligan resigned late in the cycle.
So, just like during her playing days, when an opportunity arose, Consaul stepped up to seize it. She was promoted to interim head coach at Army last summer.
And after finishing third in the Patriot League last year, Consaul has a clear goal for the 2023 season—win the league. The Black Knights took a step toward that goal last weekend when they began their 2023 campaign with a 2-2 record in Alabama.
“The goal for us this season is to win a Patriot League championship,” Consaul said. “Moving forward, I would love to continue to build that culture of competitive athletes, but ultimately, to build character and leadership skills for these young athletes, who will go out into the world to do amazing things.”