SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– One of the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s best players in recent years is returning to the league to become the head coach of the Drury Panthers softball program. Drury Vice President & Director of Athletics Nyla Milleson has named Brooke Gajewski as the program’s next head coach on Friday.
Gajewski replaces Jerry Breaux, who retired on Aug. 11 after six years at Drury and 30 seasons as a collegiate head softball coach.
Brooke Gajewski (pronounced guy-ESS-skee) was an All-American and two-time All-Region selection as a player at McKendree, where she played first base and pitcher for the Bearcats from 2015-2018. She spent last year as the head coach at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, an NCAA-III program that she led to a 32-11 record last spring.
“I believe Brooke Gajewski is a rising star in the coaching world, and I’m thrilled we have the opportunity to bring her to Drury,” said Milleson. “She is familiar with the GLVC, having had success in the league as a player and as an assistant coach. But most of all, I love her energy, her passion, and her planned approach and purpose for the Drury softball program. She will give our young women what they need to succeed on and off the field and maintain the program’s status as a consistent contender in the conference and the region.”
Last year for Milwaukee School of Engineering, Gajewski’s squad went 32-11, 21-3 in their conference, and advanced to the league tournament championship game. The Raiders featured three all-region selections and four that received all-conference honors.
In addition to her season as a collegiate head coach, Gajewski served as the pitching coach at GLVC member Quincy and worked with the team’s outfielders and first basemen in 2022 and 2021. While with the Hawks, her pitchers were responsible for a no-hitter in 2022 and a perfect game in 2021, both of which occurred during conference play.
“I am really grateful to Nyla Milleson and the Drury Athletics Department for giving me the opportunity to lead this program,” said Gajewski. “It’s been a dream to return to the GLVC and continue to build on the strong foundation of Drury Softball. I’m looking forward to turning some heads and many successful seasons.”
Gajewski was a graduate assistant coach at Wisconsin-Parkside in 2019 and 2020. She served as the head coach for the ThunderJaxx, a 16-under club softball program with Premier Sports Academy based in Westin, Wisconsin, from 2016 to 2017, and was an instructor with Wittenburg High School in Wisconsin in 2016.
As a player at McKendree, Gajewski hit .368 and tied a single-season program record with 16 home runs while posting a .693 slugging percentage as a senior in 2018. Following that season, she became McKendree’s first-ever NCAA-II All-American, receiving national honors from both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and the D2 Conference Commissioners Association. Her leadership also propelled the Bearcats to their first-ever NCAA-II Tournament appearance as McKendree went 38-18 and 20-8 in the GLVC. Gajweski finished her career with a .335 lifetime average, 33 home runs, and 132 runs batted in. She still ranks second all-time at McKendree in home runs, and RBI’s, and she is third all-time in total bases with 295.
Originally from Kronenwetter, Wisconsin, Gajewski graduated from McKendree with a degree in Exercise Science and Sports Performance, and she has a Master’s degree from Wisconsin-Parkside in Sports Management.
She will be the fourth head coach for Drury softball in the program’s 15-year history.