Grand Valley State Softball Camps
Jen (Mackson) Rivera will enter her sixth season as Grand Valley State's top assistant coach in the 2020 campaign, as she was promoted to that position in July 2014. Rivera spent the previous 10 seasons on the Laker coaching staff as a part-time assistant coach. Rivera, a former All-American pitcher herself at GVSU, works heavily with the current pitching staff while serving as the primary assistant in all other functions for the team.
The Lakers reached the College World Series for the third time in program history in 2019, led by Schutt Sports/NFCA National Pitcher of the Year and unanimous All-American pitcher Allison Lipovsky with a 0.94 ERA and a 33-4 record in the circle which sets a new single-season program record for wins. The Lakers eclipsed the 50-win mark as a team for just the second time in program history and claimed both GLIAC regular season and tournament titles.
A 20-game win streak (the third-longest in school history) helped GVSU post a 33-18 overall record in 2017, as the Lakers captured the GLIAC regular season championship. Rivera oversaw the 2017 GLIAC Pitcher of the Year in sophomore righty Allison Lipovsky, who threw a 1-0 no-hitter in the NCAA Tournament as Grand Valley State topped Indianapolis in Evansville, Ind.
Lipovsky's no-hitter is just the second NCAA Tournament no-no in Laker history; in the 2002 NCAA postseason, Rivera threw an eight-inning no-hitter in a 5-0 victory over West Virginia Wesleyan. Grand Valley State has made appearances in the NCAA Tournament in each of Rivera's three years as the top assistant coach.
The Lakers finished 2017 with a perfect 14-0 home record, marking just the fifth time in school history GVSU has went undefeated at home. Moreover, the 14 victories are a new school record for most home wins without a loss in program history.
Also in 2017, Rivera coached her first GVSU All-American as a full-time assistant. Senior second baseman Jenna Lenza was a Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) First Team All-American, a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Second Team All-American, and a CoSIDA Academic First Team All-American.
In 2016, GVSU posted a 43-13 overall record, while finishing conference play with a 21-5 league record. The Lakers won both the Midwest Region #1 Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind. (defeating Southern Indiana, #2 Indianapolis, and Trevecca Nazarene twice) and swept #10 Wayne State in the Midwest Super Regional best-of-three series.
With the two-game sweep of the Warriors, Grand Valley State returned to the College World Series for the third time. The Lakers fell to #1 West Texas A&M and #16 Armstrong State at the College World Series in Denver, Colo. GVSU ended the year ranked #7 in the latest NFCA Top-25 poll.
Rivera and current head coach Dana Callihan were voted the 2016 Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year, announced by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
The Lakers went 32-17 in Rivera's first season as a full-time assistant, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth year in a row. In 2015, GVSU went 17-8 in conference play, finishing fourth in the GLIAC standings.
Rivera has been the team’s pitching coach since the 2005 season and a member of the Laker staff under Callihan and former head coach Doug ‘Doc’ Woods.
While on staff, Rivera has helped the Lakers to an overall record of 447-219 (.671) over the past 13 seasons. During that time, GVSU has gone 212-99 (.682) in conference play. She has been a part of 13 NCAA Tournament appearances overall - four as a player (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) and nine as an assistant coach (2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
The Lakers have also won six GLIAC titles during Rivera’s time in Allendale - three as a player (2001, 2003, 2004) and three on the coaching staff (2012, 2013, 2017). She has been a member of all three of Grand Valley State’s berths in the Division II College World Series; she was the team’s starting pitcher in the 2002 appearance in Salem, Va., the Lakers' pitching coach during the 2013 trip to Salem, Va., and the top assistant during the 2016 berth in Denver, Colo.
In 2011 - when the Lakers went 41-16 and improved their record by 19 victories from the previous season - Rivera was a part of the Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year, as awarded by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).
Rivera is arguably the greatest pitcher in GLIAC history, as she finished her four-year career in the circle with an incredible record of 103-16. She struck out 1,015 batters in 821.0 innings, tossing 58 solo shutouts and owning a 0.67 career earned run average. A dominating righthander, Rivera also collected 16 saves and never won less than 20 games in a season.
She is still the only person to be named GLIAC Softball Player of the Year three times. Only two other players in conference history have won the award more than once. Rivera continues to rank first in league history in wins and ERA, third in innings pitched and saves (16), and fourth in strikeouts. Her 102 complete games and 58 shutouts are unofficial conference records. She tossed six no-hitters during her career, four of which were perfect games. Both of those figures are school records.
During her playing career, Rivera and the Lakers went 182-33-2, good for an .843 winning percentage. The team owned an .821 winning mark in GLIAC games, totaling a league record of 64-14. As a player and coach with GVSU, Rivera has been a part of 629 victories in her GVSU career, winning at a .713 clip.
In 2002, Rivera notched a school-record 30 victories in the circle and led GVSU to its first-ever Division II College World Series berth - and also the Division II National Championship game. That same year, she was named an NFCA First Team All-American; she would be a Second Team All-America choice in 2003.
A four-time All-GLIAC selection, Rivera was inducted into the Grand Valley State Hall of Fame in 2010. In addition to her on-field honors, she was also a 2003 Verizon Academic All-American.
From 2008 to 2014, Rivera pulled double duty, both as an assistant coach and as a teacher in Grand Rapids. She spent five years at William C. Abney Academy and most recently worked at Vista Charter Academy, teaching science at both institutions.
Originally from Pinconning, Rivera is a 2005 graduate of Grand Valley State. She holds a bachelor of science degree in group science, with a minor in elementary education, and is nearing completion of a masters of education degree from GVSU.
Rivera and her husband, Rick, were married in September 2015. The couple has two sons, Mack (6) and Miles (1), and she inherited two stepchildren, Jaden and Elliana.
Camp staff also includes current and former GVSU players.