Former Valencia High School softball head coach Donna Lee has only been retired for one season. However, with her sensational resume, the CIF has promptly announced Lee will be inducted into its Hall of Fame this year.
Lee got the news in early July, and the letter was a surprise for the soon-to-be hall of famer.
“It’s nothing I ever contemplated happening in my coaching career,” Lee told The Signal in a phone interview. “I just wanted to coach young women and develop athletes. I wanted to help young women take on life’s challenges and make a difference in young girls’ lives.”
The former Vikings skipper did just that and more, sending hundreds of athletes to college with scholarships, while picking up a few championships along the way.
“I started coaching at a grade school, who would have ever thought I’d get to where I am now,” Lee said. “I was at Valencia where other people shared my passion; loving the word team, and we over me, that’s what it’s all about.”
Lee has coached dozens of Division 1 athletes, professionals and Olympians in her tenure. She was thankful for their dedication as well as the commitment from her administration and family.
“I’m so thankful for the athletes, coaches and administrators who were supportive of me through the years,” Lee said. “You can’t have success without that group of people. My family also made so many sacrifices to help me achieve everything. The support they all gave me through the years and the love for the game, that’s what it’s all about. It doesn’t all happen without them. Having a few All-Americans didn’t hurt too much, either.”
The former coach led the Vikings from ground zero all the way to 545 career wins, 14 Foothill League championships, two CIF titles and a national championship in 2007.
“The honor and recognition should go to the players, coaches and parents believing in the system,” Lee said.
Since retiring after the 2022 season, the hall of famer has enjoyed traveling and focusing on teaching. She’s had more time than ever, not realizing how much time running a program takes.
As for the softball program, Lee knew it was in good hands after longtime assistant Sean Pollard was announced as the second coach in team history. Pollard led the Vikes to their 15th league title and into their usual spot in the playoffs. Valencia is still yet to miss out on a postseason berth this century.
Lee will be inducted in October, when she’ll be presented with the Hall of Fame award and the Gold Life Pass, a lifetime pass to any CIF event in recognition of her prestigious 29-year career.