Turlock native Aja Scheuber has always wanted the chance to shape and develop a college softball program of her own, but she never dreamed she’d be able to do it at her hometown’s university.
As the newest head coach of Stanislaus State’s softball team, Scheuber and the Warriors kicked off the team’s first season since 2020 this month — a true blank slate for the one-time Turlock High School Bulldog to draw up her own plans for success.
“I wake up thinking I’m the luckiest person to be able to run a program on a college campus in my hometown where I know pretty much every single person here…I'm very fortunate to have this opportunity to have all the support from this town behind me,” Scheuber said. “To have an outpouring of support from people right away before I’d even had my first official day spoke volumes of just how great things are going to be in the future for this program, and especially for the student athletes on this campus.”
Scheuber was announced as Stan State’s ninth head coach in December and had previously served as the team’s assistant coach from 2016 to 2018, bringing a true Central Valley-approach to softball with her to the program. After graduating from THS in 2004 following a standout prep softball career, she played at Merced College before transferring to Fresno State’s NCAA Division I program.
Her collegiate accolades speak for themselves. Scheuber was a two-time first-team all-Central Valley Conference honoree during her time in Merced and was also named the CVC Player of the Year as a sophomore. That season saw Scheuber hit .368 with 33 RBIs and a state-leading 39 walks, and she also led the team with a 1.87 ERA as a pitcher.
At Fresno State, Scheuber was named a 2008 ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American. She was a two-time Western Athletic Conference All-Academic honoree and a Fresno State Dean's List selection. As a senior, Scheuber was named all-West Region after batting .342 with 48 RBIs, 31 runs scored, nine doubles and five home runs. She was placed on the all-Fresno Regional Tournament team after helping lead the Bulldogs to a WAC championship in 2007.
Her passion for softball turned into a coaching career soon after graduating from Fresno State with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with multiple assistant coaching stops at both the Division I and II levels: Colorado State (2011), New Mexico Highlands (2010-11), Taft College (2009-10), Cal State Bakersfield (2011-2013) and Stan State. She was also a volunteer assistant at Fresno State during the 2009-10 season. She has since also earned a master’s degree in human performance and sport as well as her teaching credential.
Over the course of her career, Scheuber has envisioned manning the ship of her own program and hopes to emulate the likes of coaches Crissy Buck-Ziegler (Cal State Bakersfield), Margie Wright (Fresno) and long-time Stan State head coach Jan Schefkowitz — three women who know how to run a softball program from top to bottom while teaching their players the value of hard work on and off the field.
“Old school softball is all I know, and that's how I know to win as a player and as a coach. Play what the game is giving you; there doesn’t have to be all of this flashy show,” Scheuber said. “That's what I'm instilling in this group and hopefully this generation’s athletes can see how fun hard-nosed softball can be.”
Scheuber is old school, but she’s a little bit new school, too. The team makes TikToks together — Coach Scheuber included — and she’s getting to know the girls better as the weeks pass. They’re “buying into” their new leader, as Scheuber puts it, who has barely 70 days of head coaching experience under her belt, and simply enjoying the fact that they’re back on the field again after a long hiatus.
“No one in our division had played for almost 700 days up until two weeks ago, so it was kind of nice that I could come in and say, ‘This is how it's going to be because this is what I expect.’ They didn’t really have something previous to compare it to,” Scheuber said. “...They’ve been very eager to just have someone who will say, ‘I need you to run over there.’ And they're on it. They're really doing a really good job of buying into me and working on that team camaraderie that they might have missed out on. They're doing so well with the adversity that’s been thrown at them.”
Scheuber hopes to tap into her community ties not only to recruit local softball players to stay and play in the Central Valley, but to also garner support for the team.
“On top of the fact that it's right in everyone's backyard, I think people should come out to the games because they're going to really see a different atmosphere than they might have in the past. You're going to see a lot more of an energetic, urgent, positive and fun atmosphere where you can bring your kids down to a game,” Scheuber said. “I tell my athletes that the more fans we have, the better they’ll play because they don't want to let the fans down.”
While her first priority is to win, of course, she hopes to bring the Warriors back to notoriety as a consistent threat in the California Collegiate Athletic Conference, perhaps even gaining regional or national recognition for the program once again, and draw fans into the stands. With success and support will come other benefits she hopes to see the team receive, like stadium seating and an eventual indoor facility.
To achieve all of that in the town where she grew up would be a satisfactory start to a head coaching career well earned, and the Turlock community can help her get a head start this season.
“It's really neat being able to play at home — literally home — all the time,” Scheuber said. “Not only am I playing a home game on my home field, but it’s also in front of my hometown. That's really cool.”
The Stan State softball team plays most games on Fridays and Saturdays. For the full schedule, visit https://warriorathletics.com/sports/softball/schedule