Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Charlotte head softball coach Ashley Chastain is leaving Charlotte | Sports

By meerna Jun12,2024

Charlotte head softball coach Ashley Chastain will leave Charlotte after being hired as the new head coach of the University of South Carolina (USC) softball team.

Chastain played for USC throughout her college career and will now return as the team’s head coach.

Former USC softball coach Beverly Smith was fired on Saturday, June 8 after the team posted an overall record of 36-24 and lost 16 of 24 conference games in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

While playing for USC from 2009-2011, Chastain established herself as a standout pitcher in the SEC and currently ranks 11th all-time in career relief appearances. During her junior season in 2010, she led the team in starts, innings pitched and ERA.

During Chastain’s era, Charlotte established itself as the best mid-major softball school.

Since Chastain took over in Charlotte, the team has an overall record of 154-96. With Chastain as head coach, the 49ers have a .608 overall winning percentage and a .670 winning percentage in conference play. The 49ers have won 35 or more games over the past three seasons and captured the first outright regular-season conference championship in program history in 2023.

In 2024, Chastain coached Charlotte to a 39-18 overall record and the American Athletic Conference (AAC) championship, which resulted in their second NCAA softball tournament appearance in two years.

Individual players have also benefited from playing under Chastain. In 2022, former Charlotte softball outfielder Bailey Vannoy was a second-team NFCA All-American, making her the first All-American in Charlotte softball history.

This season, Charlotte saw four players named to the NFCA All-Mideast Region team, with two selected to the first team: pitcher Georgeanna Barefoot and first baseman Arianna Rodi. Rodi was also named Softball America’s top first baseman and named the 27th best player in college softball. She was also named a first-team All-American, which added to her award year and was the first of her Charlotte softball career.

Before being named Charlotte’s head coach in 2019, Chastain served as a graduate assistant at USC and then held positions as pitching coach at the College of Charleston and the universities of Michigan and Mississippi State (Ole Miss). In 2019, while at Ole Miss, Chastain won Softball America’s Pitching Coach of the Year award.

Looking ahead, Charlotte Athletic Director Mike Hill, in a statement regarding her departure, praised Chastain for her work as head coach at Charlotte.

“Our program has enjoyed tremendous success under Ashley Chastain’s leadership, and we are grateful for the historic impact she has made. She has transformed Charlotte 49er softball into a championship program that competes on the national stage,” Hill said.

In a statement, Hill said a search for Charlotte’s next head softball coach is currently underway.

“The opportunity to lead Charlotte softball is an attractive one, and a nationwide search is already underway to identify the Niners’ next leader.”

By meerna

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