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Binghamton’s Head Coach is “Bumping” Her Way to the Top

Some people toil for a lifetime to reach their ‘dream job’. Last summer, at age 29, Jess Bump got hers when she was named the head coach of Binghamton softball.

It was a long time coming; the sole remaining member of the coaching staff that had led the Binghamton program through the 2021 season, Bump held the title of acting head coach during the offseason but still had to go through the interview process like an unattached candidate.

Finally, in late July 2021, the phone call came and she was in.

“The summer was a lot of ups and downs,” Bump said. “But it all ended up being worth it. I’m where I want to be, and I really do have my dream job at 29.”

The day you are offered the job you have always wanted should be a time of celebration, of happiness, of sheer joy. Some might even say that it should be the best day of your life.

Jeff and Jess Bump during the latter’s year as a Kentucky graduate assistant.

Instead, in the wee hours of July 23 a year ago, Bump had to say goodbye to her best friend, her father Jeff, who passed away at age 67.

Mere hours later, Bump was the head coach of Binghamton softball. It was a job that Jeff Bump had waited for his daughter to get.

“My rock. My biggest fan. My forever dinner date. My best friend. My dad. I will love you forever and continue to make you proud as you watch over us with that amazing smile,” Jess Bump wrote online after her father’s passing.


Calling Bump a “lifer” is far less a pigeonholing statement than it is simply describing her impact on the program across more than a decade of time.

Very little has happened around the Binghamton softball program that Jess Bump didn’t have a hand in or influence on since she first arrived on the scene as a wide-eyed freshman in 2011. A local product who decided to stay home and don the Bearcats B, you’d be quite fair to call her the proverbial ‘hometown girl gone big’.

“Binghamton is my hometown. I played my four-year college career here, I was an assistant here, and now I’m the head coach. I don’t think too many people can say that they get to coach at the highest level, around their friends and family, in a place where they want to be forever,” Bump mused. “I feel really blessed that I get to be at home, to watch my brother’s kids grow up, and to get to coach softball and help this program reach new heights.”

An award-winning playing career for Bump included honors from her school, from the America East, and from the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Binghamton’s Female Athlete of the Year and a pair of first-team all-conference honors topped the trophy case, though joined by plenty of other awards and even a BU program record for stolen bases.

After college, Bump went down to Kentucky – leaving New York for the first time. She took a graduate assistant’s position at UK, also getting her first taste of SEC softball for a year. After working towards her Master’s degree in Lexington and also going along for the ride when the Wildcats reached the Super Regional round of the NCAA tournament, it was back to the northeast for an assistant coaching position at Lafayette College.

One year as the Leopards’ lead assistant, then Bump’s alma mater came calling. It was time for a favored daughter to go back home.

“This is a small community, a tight-knit community. Everybody always laughs that I can go any place and I know somebody. It’s just that type of town,” Bump said with a laugh. “The one thing that is awesome about Binghamton. The university has really created such an awesome community, outside the university walls.”
“The growth on campus has helped our community grow,” Bump added. “It’s been really cool for me to see that change from when I was a kid to now. It’s hard to explain because I’m thinking about it in my head and sometimes struggle to find words to explain it. That’s a big part of why I want to be here as much as I do, that community and how much this university means.”

Promoted to head coach meant a new title and new decisions to be made. Some things, though, never change; things like Bump’s motivation for coaching:

“My overall goal as a coach is to be a part of the development of student-athletes, just to help them find the best versions of themselves. That goal never changes [for me],” Bump said.

The 2022 season was Bump’s first as head coach and saw the Bearcats post a 22-23 overall record. Those twenty-two wins tied the program’s highest win total since the 2016 season and was their first time reaching the 20-win mark since the 2017 season.

For a competitive coach like Bump, there’s always room to get better. But as long as she’s in charge of the Binghamton softball program, the Bearcats are in good hands.


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