Jexx Varner, a 2007 graduate of Robert Morris with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in organizational leadership in 2009, is in his first season of his second stint on the Colonials softball staff.
“We’re very excited to have Jexx return to Robert Morris University,” said Coleman. “He has done a fantastic job everywhere he has been and with his Division I experience, our student-athletes will benefit greatly.”
Varner’s softball coaching career began in Moon Township, when he served as an assistant coach with the Colonials during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 2008, the Colonials posted a 30-20 mark, the program's first 30-win season since 1997, while landing seven players on the All-Northeast Conference squad. The two teams on which he coached went a combined 27-9 in NEC play with two regular-season second-place finishes and two NEC Tournament berths.
“I’m really excited to return to Robert Morris,” said Varner. “It’s not often you get the chance to go home professionally or personally and I’m fortunate enough to do both. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the girls on the team and working with Craig once again. It’s a surreal feeling right now and my family and I are excited to return to RMU.”
Most recently, Varner was the head softball coach at Lafayette College for the past four seasons. His tenure with the Leopards was highlighted by strong defensive play and academic excellence. His 2017 squad set a program record for fielding percentage (.970) while shortstop Brooke Wensel’s selection as the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year. His teams also owned the second-best (.967 in 2016) and fourth-best (.955 in 2015) single-season fielding percentage performances in Leapord’s history. In the classroom, the softball team won the Lafayette Department of Athletic Academic Excellence Award in the spring of 2016 and 2017 and the fall of 2016 while having six players named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team.
The 2016 season saw Lafayette manage its best winning percentage since 2001. That season’s squad had top 10 marks in 18 different statistical categories including hits, runs, home runs and runs batted in.
Prior to his time at Lafayette, Varner was an assistant coach at Kent State for three seasons. He helped guide Kent State to a 27-21-1 mark in 2013 and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East Division title. He worked closely with the outfielders and catchers while also mentoring all of the team's hitters. Varner assisted in all aspects of the Golden Flashes' program, handling team travel and compliance, while aiding in practice planning, game scheduling and gameday strategies.
After leaving RMU, Varner was an assistant coach at Ashland University, a Division II institution in Ashland, Ohio. Varner helped the Eagles to a 36-13 record and a 2010 NCAA Division II Super Regional appearance. The team set 16 school records and placed seven players on the all-conference team.
Varner was married to his wife Amy in 2014.