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President’s Medal Awarded to Coach Donna J. Newberry

David Newberry, Christy Newberry Smith and President Anne C. SteeleMuskingum University has granted its President’s Medal to Donna J. Newberry. The posthumous award was given on June 17 during the university’s Alumni Weekend. Accepting the award were Coach Newberry's brother, David Newberry, and his daughter, Christy Newberry Smith.

The University President’s Medal recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves by their exemplary actions on behalf of others.

Donna J. Newberry, 1952-2010, profoundly influenced generations of Muskingum students. She served the University for 36 years as a professor of health and physical education, coach of women’s softball and basketball, and director of intramural programs.

She often embarked on challenging educational journeys to the far corners of the earth, motivating her students to develop personal attributes for success. She shared her insights and experiences in her autobiographical book, From the Pit to the Pinnacle: A Coach’s Life Journey, co-authored with Muskingum Professor of English Jane Varley.

As Head Coach of Women’s Softball, Coach Newberry led the Muskies to win the University’s first NCAA Division III national championship in 2001. Her softball teams perennially ranked in the Top 25 in the nation, and they claimed 18 Ohio Athletic Conference championships. In 2009, she became the first coach in NCAA Division III history to achieve 900 career victories in a single sport, and only the twenty-fifth coach across all NCAA divisions to achieve 900 victories in a single sport.

Coach Newberry also earned 403 victories and three Ohio Athletic Conference championships as Head Coach of Women’s Basketball. She led her basketball team to a second-place national finish in 1991. She was the only Division III coach to win more than 400 games in two sports, and was an active leader in regional, state, and national athletic associations.

After an extended and hard-fought battle, Coach Newberry succumbed to cancer at the age of 58 in November 2010.

IN THE PHOTO: Pictured from left to right are David Newberry, Christy Newberry Smith and President Anne C. Steele.