For the first time in nearly two decades, Duke has a new varsity sport.

But without the efforts of head coach Marissa Young, it's unlikely that Blue Devil softball would have been able to establish the University's 27th athletic program in the span of less than four years.

After a dominant career at the University of Michigan where she won both Big Ten Pitcher and Player of the Year in addition to earning All-American honors in three straight seasons, Young coached in the Wolverine State for five years before winding up at North Carolina as an assistant. Now, she's made the journey down Tobacco Road to begin a new venture on her own.

Thanks to Young, Duke's inaugural softball roster features 17 players—most of whom will be joined by a 2018 13th-ranked recruiting class that includes a trio of players all ranked among the top 80 in the nation. More importantly, however, Young played a key role in coordinating the construction of the softball team's new digs on East Campus.

In late September, less than a year and a half after Young helped break ground on Duke Softball Stadium, she stood in nearly the same spot as President Vincent Price tossed out the first pitch, announcing the official start of a new venture in Blue Devil athletics.

Editor's note: This profile is part of our new initiative called The Chronicle 18. We are highlighting 18 people and groups who are defining what it means to be at Duke this year. Read about the project and more of our selections.