Ashliegh McLean was named head coach of the UWF softball program in May 2018, after four years as an assistant with the team.
It's tough to imagine a better possible start for the Argonauts during McLean's first year as head coach, as she led the team to a Gulf South Conference Championship, a South Region Title, and a trip to the NCAA Championship in Denver. The team also spent four weeks as the No. 1-ranked team in the country, on the way to earning the 1-seed in the South Region.
Awards flowed in for McLean and UWF, as Rhiannon Sassman, Teala Howard, and Kelsey Sweatt were each named All-Americans. Sassman was also the D2CCA South Region Player of the Year and the GSC Player of the Year, Howard was named the GSC Freshman of the Year, and Sweatt earned D2CCA South Region Pitcher of the Year honors, while McLean was named the GSC Coach of the Year -- her first such award and UWF's sixth.
Emma Johansen joined the West Florida softball staff in July 2018, after spending four years on staff at Alabama State in Montgomery.
In 2016, Johansen helped lead the team to 28 wins, which was the third-highest single-season win total in program history, and the Lady Hornets led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in team batting average (.321), runs scored (296), hits (482), doubles (92), and home runs (38).
Johansen also helped coach ASU to its first SWAC championship, which helped clinch an NCAA Tournament berth. Before ASU, Johansen served as the assistant softball coach for Auburn University at Montgomery and played a role in leading the team to the 2014 NAIA National Championship. In the summer of 2017, Johansen also coached the Swedish National Team in the European National Championships.
Bri Strecker enters her third season as an assistant coach with the Army softball program.
As the longest tenured member of Army’s staff, Strecker holds a variety of responsibilities within the program. In addition to overseeing Army’s pitchers, catchers and working with the Black Knights’ hitters, she also serves as Army’s recruiting coordinator and is charged with managing the Black Knights’ summer and winter camp programs.
The program has experienced a lot of success with Strecker on the staff, having reached the Patriot League Tournament in both of her seasons with the Black Knights while also finishing above .500 in league play.
In her first season with Army, the team set a new program mark for wins in a single season with 39.
Chris Steiner-Wilcoxson enters her sixth season as Alabama State University’s softball head coach for the 2019-2020 academic year.
In her 13-year collegiate coaching career, Wilcoxson has posted a 436-328-2 record, winning approximately 60 percent of her games. She was also one of 12 nominees for the Girls Scouts of Southern Alabama Leading Ladies Award during the 2018 season.
Last season, the Lady Hornets captured their second SWAC championship under Wilcoxson and advanced to the Tuscaloosa Regional - second in school history. She led the SWAC Newcomer of the Year, as well as three SWAC all-conference selections. In 2017, she had the privilege of coaching against Team USA, leading a group of college all-stars against the national team.
A two-time team captain at Auburn University, Wilcoxson was a three-year starter for the Tigers during Auburn’s first three seasons in existence. She hit the first home run in Tigers’ softball history and was selected to the Southeastern Conference All-Academic team twice. Wilcoxson led Auburn in home runs in 1997 and closed her playing career in 1999 by leading the team in at-bats, triples and stolen bases.
She currently ranks third in the Auburn record book in career stolen bases and triples.
Wilcoxson, who led Auburn-Montgomery to the 2014 national championship, was named head softball coach at Alabama State in August, 2014. Coach Chris brought swift success to Montgomery by leading the Lady Hornets to their first softball SWAC Championship in school history in just her second season, 2016, toppling Texas Southern in a rematch of the 2015 SWAC Championship with a resounding 18-8 victory to clinch its first NCAA Tournament berth. The 28 wins were the third highest for a single season in school history, and the team led the SWAC with six All-Conference selections and two individual award winners. ASU advanced to the NCAA Tournament to play at the #1 team in the nation, the University of Florida, as well as #22 Florida Atlantic.
Jeremy Leak will be entering his sixth season at Alabama State University for the 2019-2020 academic year as an assistant softball coach / pitching coach.
Leak has helped lead Alabama State to five consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship games since arriving on campus. The Lady Hornets have won a pair of those games, including winning the 2019 championship and advancing to the Tuscaloosa Regional.
In 2016, Leak's pitching expertise led the Lady Hornets to the second best marks in the conference in ERA (4.51) and strikeouts (225).
Leak also helped coach Alabama State to the best all-around team rankings in the conference as ASU ranked first in the SWAC in team batting average (.321), runs scored (296), hits (482), doubles (92), home runs (38), in turning double plays (21) and second in triples (12), stolen bases (50), and in fielding (.951 fielding percentage).
Alabama State's 28 wins were the third highest single season amount of wins in the program, and the team led the SWAC with six All-Conference selections and two large award winners.
Having won a National Championship in his first season at the helm of the Auburn Montgomery softball program, Eric Newell has amassed a record of 196-63 since being named head coach of the Warhawks on Dec. 16, 2014. Newell, entering his sixth season at AUM, has a career record of 450-184 over 13 years as a head coach at the collegiate level.
AUM added 14 wins to their 2019 total from 2018, finishing 43-12 overall, and 20-9 in GSC play. The Warhawks won their first 11 games in a row, including a 9-0 victory over number-three ranked North Georgia in their season-opener on Feb. 1. The Orange and Black also posted series victories at #16 Valdosta State and #21 ranked Mississippi College to help solidify their presence at the top of the GSC. Freshman Olivia Aycock set the program record for stolen bases in a single season (47), while Aycock (.399), Michaelyn Foster (.360), Jaycie Walker (.346), Parker Pinholster (.320) and Morgan Duschell (.309) led a Warhawk offense that batted .304 as a team. The pitching staff posted a 1.91 team earned run average, led by Cydney Sizemore (0.49), Foster (1.46), Savanna Holmes (1.77), Natalie Johnsey (1.89) and Chanel Newcomer's (2.33) ERA's under three.
In 2018, the Warhawks compiled a record of 29-17 overall, and 19-14 against GSC opponents. The Orange and Black swept series over Christian Brothers and Shorter, while taking series victories against Delta State, West Alabama, Lee and West Georgia. Sophomore Jaycie Walker earned NFCA First Team All-South honors, while setting the program record for doubles in a season with 18.
During AUM’s first season transitioning from NAIA to NCAA Division II, Newell guided the Warhawks to a 25-18 record in 2017. AUM won its first NCAA II game against #13 Valdosta State on Feb. 4, earning an 11-2 victory in six innings over the Blazers. The Warhawks also picked up a 4-2 victory over #17 Alabama Huntsville on April 20. For the year AUM went 12-4 against future Gulf South Conference opponents.
In 2016, Newell led AUM to a school-record 53 wins and the first Southern States Athletic Conference Softball Tournament championship in the program's history. The Warhawks also captured their first Gulf Shores Invitational championship in 2016. AUM finished the campaign with a 53-8 overall record and was ranked third in the NAIA Postseason Poll. AUM continued its dominance of the NAIA Opening Round, sweeping through the AUM Bracket and impoving to 11-0 all-time in Opening Round contests. The Warhawks, the only NAIA team with four Opening Round championships, advanced to their fifth consecutive NAIA World Series by winning the bracket.
Following one year as the graduate assistant with the program, Scottie Wilkes was announced as the assistant coach for the softball team in the fall of 2013.
Wilkes has enjoyed a highly-decorated career on the coaching staff at AUM, including a pair of NAIA National Championships, four national tournament appearances and the program’s first Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament championship. She was a part of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s Coaching Staff of the Year in 2014 and 2015, while also earning NFCA East Region Coaching Staff of the Year and NFCA Assistant Coach of the Year honors following the 2016 season. The Warhawks have recorded at least 44 wins in all four of her seasons with the team, including a school-record 53 wins last season, and are 188-36 (.839).
In her four years as an assistant coach, Wilkes has coached 21 all-conference performers and seven NAIA All-Americans. Former standout pitcher Cassie Jones was also tabbed the NAIA Player of the Year under her leadership. The Warhawks had 16 SSAC All-Academic performers and four NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
Wilkes joined the Warhawks after a two-year playing career at Faulkner University, where she played both softball and volleyball.
Now in his 15th season as head coach of the Brenau Golden Tigers softball team, Devon Thomas was born in Gainesville, Ga., and graduated from North Hall High School in 1990. He earned an Associates of Science degree in middle grades education and an Associates of Art Degree in business administration from Gainesville State College, and he earned a bachelor of Education degree from Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga.
Under Thomas’s transformational leadership, the Brenau team has become a perennial contender for top national rankings, finishing no. 4 in the nation in 2012 and no. 3 in 2013 preseason rankings. The Golden Tigers first broke into the NAIA Division I national rankings in 2006, 2007, and 2008– the only all-women’s colleges ranked. The team finished the 2009 season as SSAC regular-season champs and No. 11 in the national after qualifying for the national tournament.
In the 2012 NAIA National Championship Tournament Thomas and the Tigers made it to the Final Four, finishing in third place.
Brenau began the 2013 season with the team’s highest preseason national ranking in school history and also for the first time received two of the 18 first place votes.
While at Brenau, Thomas has amassed a 341-184-1 record while at Brenau. During his tenure, Thomas has coached 45 SSAC All-Conference team selections, 65 SSAC All-Academic team selections, 22 SSAC All-Conference freshman team selections, four SSAC Gold Glove winners, two SSAC Players of the Year (2009, 2011), one Divisional Player of the Year (2014), three Divisional Pitchers of the Year (2012, 2013, 2014), three SSAC Freshman of the Year (2009, 2010, 2011), one SSAC Divisional Freshman of the Year (2014), two NAIA All-Region Selections, two NFCA All-Americans, five NAIA All-Americans and two National Tournament All-Tournament Team Selections (2012).
In 2009, Thomas was named SSAC Coach of the Year. In 2013 he earned his 300th career victory against Emmanuel College. After his 200th victory, he was inducted into the NFCA Easton Victory Club for 200+ wins. He has also been a finalist for NAIA National Coach of the Year in both 2009 and 2012. Thomas has had nine 30+ win seasons in a row (2006-2014) and three 40+ win seasons (2009, 2011, 2012). His team has been in the NAIA Top 25 every week for the past six years.
Jessica Sanders enters her sixth season with the Night Hawks softball program in 2019. Prior to her time at Thomas University, Sanders spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Shorter University. During her tenure at Shorter, the Lady Hawks captured the NAIA National Softball Championship in 2012 and finished second in the NCCAA National Tournament in 2013.
Before her time at Shorter, Sanders spent one season at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. In the program’s inaugural season, Our Lady finished as the regular season conference runner-up in the Red River Conference.
Sanders began her collegiate playing career at the University of West Georgia. She currently sits second on the university’s single-season home run record list with 15. Sanders completed this impressive record in her freshman season (2005). Following her freshman season, Sanders transferred to Shorter from West Georgia and was an All-SSAC performer in 2006, 2007, and 2008 for the Lady Hawks. In 2006, Sanders was named SSAC Player of the Year as a sophomore when she set Shorter’s single-season home run record with 16. Her .924 single season slugging percentage remains the record at Shorter. Sanders, a two-time NAIA All-American, is also Shorter’s career leader in home runs (37) and batting average (.400). She ranks second all-time in Shorter history in doubles and RBI. In 2013, Sanders was inducted into the Shorter University Hall of Fame as the first softball player in the Hall’s history.
3 NJCAA National Championship 2007 (School’s 1st Title) 2015 & 2019
NJCAA Coach of the Year 2007 & 2015
5 NJCAA Region VIII Coach of the Year 2007, 2010, 2013, 2015 & 2016
NFCA Coaching Staff of the Year 2007 & 2015
When Belinda Hendrix was introduced as the new softball coach at Chipola College, she expressed her desire to build a respectable softball program and develop her players into both scholars and players.
In 14 seasons at the helm, Hendrix has certainly brought her dream into reality. Posting an overall record of 647–174, the Lady Indians have proven themselves worthy both in the state of Florida and on the national scene.
During the 2017-18 campaign, Chipola finished a phenomenal year with a 56-4 record, and as Runners-Up in both the FCSAA State and NJCAA National Tournaments. The Lady Indians won the Panhandle Conference title and spent most of the season at number one in both the state and national polls. Chipola was unbeaten through the first 44 games of the season. Chipola also hosted the Chinese National Softball Team in a pair of exhibition games.
Under her direction, Chipola captured the school’s first national title in 2007. After posting an overall record of 57-6, was named 2007 NJCAA National Coach of the Year. She led Chipola to a second national title in 2015.
Coach Hendrix is a firm believer in the old cliché that hard work pays off. She is notorious for being a student of the game and passing her passion for the sport down to her players. She is well-known for developing players that can excel at several different positions.
Hendrix believes that the experiences and challenges her players face on the softball field will equip them with the tools to adapt and conquer anything life might throw at them. Using this mentality, Hendrix has coached numerous All-Conference Players and 20 NJCAA All-Americans.
Jimmy Hendrix is entering his nineth season as assistant coach at Chipola College. Coach Hendrix works primarily with the Lady Indians' infielders and has played a key role in the development of the pitching and catching staff. He serves as the recruiting coordinator for the Chipola Softball Program.
Coach Hendrix is a 1995 graduate of Chipley High School. After graduating high school, started at shortstop at Enterprise State College. Upon transferring to Thomas University in Thomasville, GA, Hendrix led his team to their first appearance at the regional tournament and was named MVP for the 1999-2000 season.
Hendrix began his coaching career at Vernon High School where he coached the baseball team from 2001-04 before taking over the reins of the Cottondale Lady Hornets softball team from 2004-05.
Kelly Brookins enters her third season as Assistant Coach for the Chipola Softball program. Brookins is a 2004 graduate from Liberty County High School where she was a 2-time member of Florida's All-state teams.
Brookins completed her first two years of college at Chipola where she received her AA and earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors her sophomore year. After graduating from Chipola, Brookins went on to play at Nova Southeastern University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Sports and Recreation Management from the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship in 2008.
Andy Lee, a six-time national champion and three-time national coach of the year, enters his first season as head coach of the Northwest Florida State College softball program.
Lee comes to Niceville with over a decade of collegiate head coaching experience and a combined record of 674-172 (.797 winning percentage), including stints at the helm of LSU-Eunice and Hinds Community College.
In his 11 seasons as the head coach at LSU-Eunice, Lee was instrumental in turning the Bengals’ softball program into a perennial powerhouse. Under Lee’s command, the Bengals have made 11 Region 23 Tournaments, nine National Tournaments, and won six national championships with one national runner-up finish. Boasting a 582-107 record (.844 winning percentage) during his 11-year stint, the Bengals have held the #1 ranking at some point in the NJCAA regular season polls seven of the last nine years. In that time span, 44 LSU-Eunice student-athletes have earned scholarships to play at four-year schools. Lee recruited and developed 47 All-Region selections and 23 NJCAA All-Americans while at LSU-Eunice. He has received five Region 23 Coach of the Year awards along with three National Coach of the Year honors (2011, 2014, 2017, and 2018).
Prior to his time at LSU-Eunice, Lee began his collegiate coaching career at Hinds Community College. He spent three seasons as the head coach of the Eagles’ program and led them to a 92-65 overall record from 2006-2008.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Lee played four years as a left-handed pitcher and outfielder at Hinds Community College and Delta State University. In 1999, Lee signed a professional baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox and pitched two seasons in their organization.
Lee received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Delta State University and a master’s degree in education from Jackson State University.
Lyndsey Angus was named Pensacola State's Head Coach in the summer of 2015. Angus is a native of Leominster, Massachusetts and comes to the Panhandle after spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico.
The '17-'18 season was Coach Angus' most successful at PSC. The team compiled a 28-24 overall record and won the Panhandle playoff to qualify for the Florida State Tournament.
Prior to her stint with the Lobo's Angus was part of a 2010 Kentucky staff that led the team to one of its most successful seasons in school history, the school's first national ranking and its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Angus was a four-year letter-winner for the Wildcats from 2000-2003. In her freshman season, the Wildcats captured the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division crown. Three times she was an All-SEC selection and an All-Academic team member on two occasions.
Prior to joining the Kentucky staff, Angus spent three seasons, 2007-2009, as an assistant coach at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, working under former UK assistant coach Mark Montgomery. With the Ladies, Angus was involved in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, scouting, conditioning and on-field instruction.
In 2009, Centenary posted a 32-23 overall record and a 13-9 mark in the Summit League. The Ladies appeared in the conference championship game before falling to Western Illinois.
Prior to her arrival at Centenary, Angus spent a year as a graduate assistant coach at Valdosta (Ga.) State. She graduated from UK in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and business administration.
After college Angus played in the National Pro Fastpitch League for six seasons, starting out with the New England Riptide for five sesaons and finishing with the Rockford Thunder. Angus was named the NPF Most Valuable Player in 2006 and was a member of the All-NPF team in 2005, 2006 and 2008. In her most productive season, Angus batted .357 with 19 RBI and seven doubles in 2005. In her professional career, Angus appeared in 257 games and charted 195 career hits.