"Ellie has proven herself during her coaching career as a winner and we are thrilled to have her join the Purple Eagle family," McLaughlin said. " As we went through the process, we wanted our first full-time head coach to be someone who has won and can get us back to the MAAC Tournament. Ellie is a driven leader who will excel at Niagara University."
The hiring of Hanover will usher in a new era of Purple Eagle softball as she replaces Al Dirschberger who retired after 20 years as head coach. Hanover, who is from Buffalo, played college softball (D'Youville/Canisius) and began her coaching career (ECC/D'Youville) in Western New York.
"I cannot tell you how excited I am for this opportunity. To coach a Division I team in my hometown is a dream come true for me," Hanover said. "I would like to thank Theresa Berg, Ed McLaughlin and the rest of the search committee for having faith in me to lead this program. Niagara softball has a very strong foundation that we are going to build on. I am looking forward to this challenge, as I feel right at home in the MAAC where I once played."
Hanover joins Niagara after spending the previous three seasons as head coach at NCAA Division II Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C. Hanover guided the Crusaders to three conference tournaments, improved the team's winning percentage by 30 percent and coached eight all-conference members during her tenure.
Prior to coaching at Abbey, Hanover was the head coach at NCAA Division II Florida Tech for four seasons. At Florida Tech, Hanover fashioned a four-year record of 94-67, which included a school-record 42 wins, a conference runner-up finish and a national ranking in 2007.
Hanover served as head coach at D'Youville College from 2000-2004. She led the Lady Spartans to a NEAC tournament championship in 2005 and a NEAC regular season championship in 2004. She was named the NEAC Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004. She also recruited and coached two separate Pitchers of the Year, as well as two different Players of the Year along with ten all conference selections. She also served as the Senior Woman Administrator/Assistant Athletic Director, head cross country coach, and assistant soccer coach in 2003.
Prior to D'Youville, Hanover coached two seasons at Erie Community College, where she won 67 percent of her games and earned a regional berth for the first time in three seasons.
Hanover's collegiate playing career started at ECC, before finishing her career at Canisius. Hanover garnered All-American honors as a shortstop at ECC and was named to the All-MAAC and MAAC Tournament teams while at Canisius.
In 2000, Hanover's summer club team won the Class C National Championship, and she was named the tournament MVP. She also played for the Empire State softball team as well as the Tonawanda Shamrocks, a women's major fast pitch team.
Hanover is a graduate of Canisius, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1998. She obtained her Master of Science in education from D'Youville in 2000. She previously earned an associate degree in applied science from Erie Community College in 1995 as a criminal justice major.
She was married to current Florida Tech men's soccer coach Robin Chan in June of 2011.