Auburn softball adds DJ Sanders as assistant coach

Welcome_DJ SandersWelcome_DJ Sanders

AUBURN, Ala. – One of the rising stars in collegiate coaching, DJ Sanders joins Auburn softball as an assistant coach as announced by co-head coaches Chris and Kate Malveaux on Sunday.

“We have seen DJ grow as a player as well as evolve into a coach and mentor for other young athletes,” said Chris Malveaux. “DJ has a gift of perspective and understanding of how to get the most out of athletes. Her impact will be felt right away offensively as well as with our infield play. She is sharp, competitive and is a person of very high character. DJ will make an incredible impact on the Auburn softball program!” 

“We are very excited to have DJ join the Auburn softball family!” Kate Malveaux added. “She knows how to win and will work tirelessly to do so. DJ has an incredible foundation as a person of strong values. She will set a great example for these players as well as help them develop into the best athletes they possibly could be.” 

Sanders joins Auburn after spending last season as an assistant coach at Ole Miss where she worked with the Rebel offense. Sanders also had coaching stints with Memphis, Mississippi State and Missouri while bringing a wealth of playing knowledge both at the collegiate and professional levels

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to represent Auburn University and coach with Chris and Kate Malveaux,” Sanders said. “They have been wonderful mentors to me over the years. I plan to make an immediate impact with these student-athletes as someone who’s been in their shoes. I can’t wait to get to work and help lead this this program back to the Women’s College World Series to compete for a national championship soon!” 

In her lone season with the Rebels, Sanders help Ole Miss to 31 wins and an eighth straight NCAA Regional appearance. She guided Aynslie Furbush to 2024 All-SEC honors as Furbush turned in the best offensive season of her career. She tallied 49 hits and finished second on the team with a .325 batting average while ranking 13th in the SEC with 44 RBI.

Furbush added NFCA All-South Region honors alongside Jalia Lassiter. A two-time NFCA All-Region selection, Lassiter finished second on the team with 61 hits in 2024 and was key to the Ole Miss offense with 34 runs scored and 29 RBI. Lassiter was just the fourth Rebel in program history to earn multiple all-region accolades. 

Sanders joined Ole Miss after serving as an assistant coach at Memphis. At the helm of the offense, she worked primarily as the hitting coach and lead scouting of opposing pitchers. Sanders also worked with the outfielders in her one season with the Tigers. 

Prior to her stop in Memphis, Sanders spent one season at Mississippi State and was part of the program’s historic run to the NCAA Super Regional in 2022. She helped assist the Bulldog offense as a hitting instructor and led the scouting of opposing pitchers. With Sanders' guidance, Mississippi State broke the single-season record in home runs and turned in top-five marks in program history in both runs (312) and RBI (282).

Sanders got her start in coaching as a graduate assistant in 2020 at Missouri, helping the Tigers to a 61-24 record in her two seasons.

Collegiately, Sanders played her first three seasons as the starting shortstop at Louisiana. As a junior, Sanders led the NCAA in home runs (29), RBI (82) and slugging percentage (1.013) en route to earning NFCA First Team All-American honors and being named one of 10 finalists for the USA Softball National Player of the Year award. 

She also played for the USA Softball Junior National Team at the World Cup of Softball and Junior Women's World Championships in 2015. 

For her senior year, she transferred to Oregon and earned All-Pac-12 honors in 2018. In her lone season in Eugene, she helped lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 Championship while blasting 16 homers and collecting 51 RBI.

After graduation, Sanders was drafted No. 21 overall by the Chicago Bandits in the 2018 NPF Draft. She made her professional debut with NPF on June 16, 2018, and recorded her first career hit the next day. In her rookie season, Sanders batted .306 and ranked third on her squad in home runs.

Sanders also played professionally with Athletes Unlimited the last four seasons. The Columbus, Mississippi, native totaled 987 points through seven games in 2023. She competed in the AUX exhibition season in 2022, totaling 808 points in eight games with a .500 batting average. The previous year she tallied 1,352 points and finished 15th overall in the league, slugging a pair of homers and collecting five RBI in 11 games. In the summer of 2020, Sanders finished 14th individually in the inaugural AU season with 1,520 points and batted .333 with four homers over 14 games.