Mary Jo Firnbach enters her sixth season as the associate head coach of the Texas A&M softball team. Firnbach came to Aggieland after serving seven seasons as the head coach of the Orange at Syracuse University, where she compiled an overall record of 174-169-1. Under her direction, SU established a new school record for victories (36) and made its third appearance in the BIG EAST Championship, earning Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2005.
Firnbach made an immediate and positive impact on the A&M softball program, budding the team's batting average to an impressive .284 her first season and an even better .290 in 2008.
Firnbach's major job functions include working with hitters, infielders, team defense and team offense. She also shares recruiting duties, and assists with camps and clinics and the overall management of the program.
As a student, Firnbach was a four-year standout at third base at Southern Illinois University, where in 1991 she earned an undergraduate degree in community health education. While at Southern Illinois, Firnbach was named team captain in 1991, a season in which the Salukis went 42-7 and were the Gateway Conference regular season and tournament champions. She was a two-time Gateway All-Conference first-team selection and an All-Midwest second-team selection.
On the professional level Firnbach played the 1991 season for the Raybestos Brakettes in Stratford, Conn. The Brakettes won the national championship and the gold medal at the Olympic Sports Festival. She also played with the Michigan Cruise in Ann Arbor, Mich., finishing fifth at the national tournament in 1994.
Firnbach entered the coaching profession immediately following graduation, serving as a volunteer assistant coach for two seasons at her alma mater, while completing her master's degree in sport psychology. She served as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan from 1993 to 1995 where she helped lead the Wolverines to a Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament championship, the National Invitational Tournament title and to an appearance in the College World Series.
Firnbach then served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Illinois State for three years. The Redbirds won Missouri Valley Conference crowns in 1996 and 1997 before Firnbach was named the head coach of the Orange in 1998.
Firnbach also received several accolades recognizing her accomplishments on and off the playing field. She was named the Gateway Conference Athlete of the Decade for the 1980s and was Southern Illinois' nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year in 1991. In 1996 Firnbach was inducted into the Southern Illinois University Athletic Hall of Fame. She was also inducted into the Woodstock High School Hall of Fame.