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Melissa Fracker Reaches Milestone Coaching Win Total, Wins Collegiate Title



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Former Newtown High School softball standout Melissa Fracker has made a name for herself at the collegiate level as a head coach and, this spring, reached a milestone win total en route to the team capturing an Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Championship.

The 2008 NHS graduate is the head coach of the Division III University of Wisconsin-Superior softball team and, this season picked up her 100th coaching victory with the program in the second game of a doubleheader, an 8-6 victory in 12 innings over the University of Wisconsin-Stout at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex, back on April 9. The coach and her squad racked up another dozen wins including a trio in the UMAC Tournament, culminating with a 6-5 victory over Bethany Lutheran College.

Fracker’s coaching roots go back to Connecticut. An outfielder, she played four years at Western Connecticut State University and stayed on as an assistant coach for eight years until accepting the lead role with UW-Superior in June of 2020. In her move to the Midwest Fracker took with her some great experiences and lessons learned in the game here in Newtown as well as in the Hat City.

“It was really exciting to travel away from the East Coast for the first time and accept a head coaching position after being involved in softball in so many ways. The focus on student-athlete experience at UW-Superior is a perfect match as that is the reason I fell in love with college softball at the Division III level,” Fracker said. “I’ve been lucky growing up in Newtown and playing at West Conn to be on quite a few successful teams. I wanted to bring the joy I experienced being on successful teams to any team I’ve coached and winning 100-plus games hopefully means the players are getting the same wonderful experience I had.

“The best part of coaching college softball is the long-term relationship you can build with the players through the recruiting process, during their four-year career, and then after they graduate. I can use softball to help players grow personally, as a leader, and as a teammate, which is the best part of coaching at the college level,” she added.

During her Newtown High days, Fracker also played volleyball, but softball was the sport she was most passionate about.

“I was lucky to grow up playing sports in Newtown with the supporting nature of all the coaches and parents. The youth coaches taught me all the fundamentals of the game and the proper way to go about playing it. Once I got to the high school, Coach (Bob) Guerrera and Coach (Lin) Hertberg taught us the strategy behind the game, which made me fall more in love with softball. I also loved that I was able to grow up playing with some of my best friends through high school,” she said.

“Not at all surprised,” Hertberg said of the former Nighthawk player’s accomplishments at the collegiate coaching level. “She was a very capable young lady and she was a real leader. She was a marvelous athlete. She was extremely coachable. She was liked by all her teammates,” Hertberg said.

Fracker not only played for Guerrera but she also worked as head counselor at the Danbury Police Athletic League (PAL) summer day camp and eventually succeeded him as executive director of Danbury PAL.

Hertberg and Guerrera noted that her traits as a player translate well into the world of coaching, in which it is all about leadership, teamwork, and commitment.

“Melissa was just an outstanding individual, a team player — totally dedicated,” Guerrera said.

Sports Editor Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

Melissa Fracker, center, rushes onto the field with team members following a University of Wisconsin-Superior walk-off win. The former Newtown High player earned her 100th win with the program on the way to a conference championship. —photo courtesy Holden Law/University of Wisconsin Superior
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