After winning state softball title, Ellenberger ends coaching run at Chesapeake-Anne Arundel

Chesapeake-Anne Arundel softball coach Don Ellenberger hugs second basemen Norah Hart after the Cougars claimed the Class 3A state championship June 18 at Bachman Park. It was the last game for Ellenberger, who announced his retirement Wednesday after 20 seasons at the Anne Arundel County school.

by Derek Toney 

About 30 minutes after winning the Class 3A state softball championship a couple of weeks ago, a reporter asked Chesapeake-Anne Arundel coach Don Ellenberger if he wanted to announce it was his final game. 

“I don’t want to make it about me,” said Ellenberger as his players took pictures at Bachman Park. “This is their moment.” 

It’s been always about the players with Ellenberger, who officially stepped down as Cougars coach Wednesday after 20 seasons and three state titles. 

The end, which Ellenberger has talked about the last couple of years, was sweet, capped with a 3-1 state victory over Reservoir June 18. The Cougars (16-1 overall) beat Southern Maryland powerhouse Northern of Calvert C0unty, in the state semifinals, on a 3-run homer in the top of the seventh.  

“This is what you fight all year for…obviously we didn’t play a full season but the competition in 3A, especially on our side of the bracket was unbelievable,” said Ellenberger. “The girls pulled it off.” 

In the state quarterfinals, Chesapeake hit four home runs to rally past visiting Bel Air.  

It would be his last home game at the Pasadena school. Ellenberger went 354-83 as Cougar coach, winning 4A state crowns in 2007 and 2008 with Lauren Gibson, who went on to star at the University of Tennessee and play on the U.S. National Team. 

“Best player I’ve ever seen in Anne Arundel County in all my years,” said Ellenberger, who lives in Pasadena. 

After his final home victory, Ellenberger enjoyed the moment with his wife and a couple of his grandchildren. He plans to spend time at his second home on the Eastern Shore after his retirement from his job with the federal government. 

Ellenberger guided Chesapeake-AA to six other state finals (2004, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2019). He was VSN’s Coach of the Year in 2012.