Team photo after Judy”s 1000th game
Team photo after Judy”s 1000th game

Judy Shaubach


By Marty Bitter, Madera Unified School District Athletic Director

I HAD THE distinct pleasure of being able to sit down with Madera High School Head Softball Coach Judy Shaubach. I have known Judy for over 25 years and have always admired and respected her, but after our conversation that respect and admiration grew immensely. I also found out how much I didn’t know and had the energy to put the glove back on and get out and start playing!

Coach Shaubach’s biggest heroes are her parents. They have been married since 1952 or 68 years. Just let that sink in for a moment! She credits her getting into education because she had such great teachers at home. Her mom worked in Madera Unified School District for 36 years as a classroom aid, office secretary and administrative assistant. Her dad taught her about hardwork and sacrifice as a young girl growing up on their farm. She is also blessed with two wonderful children Shelby and Shane along with two grandsons Parker Lee 5 ½ and Bryce William 2 whom she absolutely adores.

Coach Shaubach had other heroes who had an impact on her life and career. As a former Coyote graduate and student athlete Linda Lucas (Volleyball) and Barbara Avila (Basketball/Softball) made a huge impact. Barbara Avila was the first head coach in Coyote softball history in 1978 and a young student athlete by the name of Judy Shaubach played on that first team. Another fact is that since softball’s inception in 1978 Judy has played or coached every single season with the exception of four. Her other mentors were her Fresno State softball coach Donna Pickle and Ralph Salazar who is credited with moving her from the right side of the plate to the left side and completely turned around her softball career. You will still see this influence in our current Coyote softball teams.

Some might wonder how Coach Shaubach ended up in education. When she was playing softball at Fresno State she hadn’t declared a major. It was deemed necessary at that time that you declare in between your sophomore and junior years. Judy wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and was short on money so thought about heading back to the farm to make some money. Coach sent her to meet with her counselor and they began to discuss possible career options. All Coach Shaubach knew at the time that she really wanted to continue coaching after she was done playing. She was interested in animals, possibly being a doctor, but her counselor said, after looking at the classes she had already taken, “have you thought about education in the field of kinesiology?” This question became the best question anyone has ever asked her because she feels as of that moment she has never had to work a day in her life! She loves nothing better than watching a child grow, mature and become a great person all while having a hand in it.

Coach Shaubach will be starting her 35th year in Madera Unified School District. When she left college, Physical Education positions were hard to find. There were only two in California at the time: one in Sacramento and one in Clovis. Ready to head to Sacramento, her mom received a call, from then Principal Jim Morgan, that a position had come open at Thomas Jefferson Middle School here in Madera. Mr. Morgan needed someone to teach PE and coach about 4 different sports. Coach Shaubach told him to “look no further, I am the person you are looking for.” She spent 1 year at Thomas Jefferson before moving over to Madera High where she just finished her 33rd year as a Coyote!!

I asked Judy if she would be able to share with me some highlights both as a player and as a coach. This was a very easy question, as a player, and that was her opportunity to play collegiate softball while representing her community. Coach Shaubach was on a team that played in the very first Women’s College Softball World Series in 1982! As a coach, it was extremely difficult for her, as there have been so many moments. The one that came to mind was the 1989 team that returned 9 seniors and went 33-1 and beat a Mt. Whitney team for the Central Section Championship 1‑0 in her very first year as a head coach!

Coach Shaubach is so proud of the fact that her teams are always hard working and competitive. She feels the traits that represent Coyote softball is that they never give up regardless of game, score or situation until the last out of the game. She could not be prouder that her players have gone on to become teachers, moms, police officers, and CEO’s. Her memories are not in the games or championships that she has won but in the relationships she has been able to build. This is evident by so many players coming back to help Coach Shaubach carry on the traditions of Coyote Softball!

Lastly, I asked her about her feelings towards the new Coyote softball project currently under design. She feels that throughout her career her girls programs have modeled what makes our community so special. The girls have earned the opportunity to play in a first class facility and she couldn’t be more excited to see the community and school district behind this project. For Coach Shaubach it is a fitting way for her to ride off into the sunset. Now don’t worry she isn’t planning on finishing her career just yet, but is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

There is no more fitting quote to describe what Coach Judy Shaubach has meant to Madera Unified and the student athletes that have played for her! I would like to leave you with some quick facts that will simply leave you amazed:

  • Coached 1008 games as of this article
  • Record of 672–335 a 67% win percentage
  • Winningest female softball coach in Central Section History
  • 33 years as a head coach at Madera High and never had a sub .500 season.
  • Won more than 20 games in 21 seasons and was adding another this year.
  • Three (3) seasons with 30 or more wins.
  • 3 Central Section Championships (1989, 2015, 2016)
  • Currently has 4 former players coaching in her program.
  • More players than she can count went on to play college softball.
  • League Coach of the Year 4 times (1989, 1994, 2008 and 2019)
  • Cal-Hi State Coach of the year in 2016.

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