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Aquinas College Softball Camps

Coaching Staff

Jim Elliot
Assistant Coach

Jim is in his eighth season with the Saints softball coaching staff. He brings a variety of softball coaching experiences which include 7 years as the head softball coach for the Grand Rapids Blaze at 16 under, 14 under, and 12 under. Jim has also coached varsity high school softball for 2 years and has been a softball college assistant coach for 2 years. He has a philosophy of working hard while having some fun with the game of softball. Jim is a sales and marketing director in Grand Rapids where he resides with his wife Karen. He has a son Matt and daughter Emily who is married to Kevin plus two grandsons, Brady and KJ.

Jacki Plough
Assistant Coach

Jacquelyn begins her eighth season on the Saints coaching staff after a stellar four year career which included awards such as; 2009 NAIA All American and member of the WHAC all conference team in 09'. Plough is currently second all time on the school's career home run list as well as 4th in runs scored, 5th in RBI's, and 3rd in career batting average. Jacquelyn's energy and knowledge of the game proves vital to the Saints success. Coach Jacki is a strong role model on and off the field. She loves to teach the girls the hitting and fielding fundamentals of the game as well as how to succeed as a student-athlete. She received her Bachelor's Degree from Aquinas in Biology and currently works as a microbiologist in the pharmaceutical industry. She is also pursuing her Master's Degree in Sports Administration from Central Michigan University, Grand Rapids Campus.


Mel Shepard
Assistant Coach

Melissa begins her first season on the Saints coaching staff this year as their Hitting Coach. “Coach Mel” is a former Badger and three-year Big Ten All-Academic Athlete.  She was a walk-on at the University of Wisconsin – Madison from 2002-2006. Mel has been coaching softball at the MHSSA level since 2012 and is currently the East Grand Rapids varsity softball coach as well. She hopes to bring a new level of intensity, focus and mental preparation to Aquinas, in respect to their offensive game.

Mel graduated from Wisconsin with Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting, Human Resources and Business Management and is now the Accounting & HR Administrator for Pasta Per Trio, a Noodles & Company franchisee out of Michigan. While a Wisconsin native, she now resides in Lowell with her husband, Tom and children; son, Jayce (1), daughter Jocelyn (3) and step-son, Gabryel (11).  In her free time, Coach Mel enjoys anything involving her kids or Bucky Badger.


Lexi Popma
Student Assistant

Lexi begins her first season on the Saints coaching staff after a solid four year career as the Saints center fielder. Over Lexi's four years, she finished a member of the 500 at-bat club, 12th all time in runs scored, fifth all time in school history for triples, and she successfully stole over 95% of her stolen base attempts. She was also awarded the WHAC all conference honorable mention in 2015.

Lexi's enthusiasm and passion for the game is contagious and we're excited to have her be part of the Saints staff. She is a positive role model on and off the field and will help players excel on the field and in the classroom. Lexi has received her Associates Degree from Aquinas College and will receive her Bachelor's Degree from Aquinas this spring with a major in secondary mathematics in education and a minor in secondary physical education.