Softball head coach resigns

Jill Odom

Sports Editor

Head softball coach Melanie Davis resigned from her position on May 19, 2014.  She finished her time with Troy with a 780-509-4 record.

Davis was originally hired in 1993. She was head coach of both volleyball and softball. It was three years later when she decided to dedicate the next 21 years of her life to Troy’s softball program.

“I hold Coach Davis in the highest regard and wish her the best as she enters the next chapter in her life,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. said. “While she will be missed on campus, she will always be a Trojan.”

Davis also helped lead the Trojans to several conference titles and one NCAA Regional berth.

Although no specific reason was named for why Davis chose to step down, she did state that it was with mixed emotions that she tendered her resignation.

“I wish the best of success to the current student-athletes who are blessed to wear the uniform,” Davis said. “I have no doubt that you will be successful in the classroom, on the field and in the wonderful game of life.”

After a nationwide search, the dogs were called off on June 17, when Beth Mullins was announced as the new head softball coach.

As one of the top young coaches in college softball, Mullins is only the second head coach in Troy’s NCAA Division I softball history.

The Fairhope native has just completed her third season as an assistant coach at Mississippi State and has also worked as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky, UAB and Georgia Southern.

Mullins’ teams have advanced to five NCAA tournaments during her nine-year career, along with all three seasons at Mississippi State.

“I’m honored to be the next softball coach at Troy University,” Mullins said. “I want to thank John Hartwell and Dr. Jack Hawkins for the opportunity to become part of the Troy family. I’m here to win at everything we do – on the field, in the classroom and in the community.  I look forward to building a championship program at Troy.”

While with the Bulldogs, Mullins worked with the outfielders and served as the hitting coach. During the 2014 season, Mississippi State won 39 games, which tied with the third most in school history.

In 2013, the team set the program record with 51 home runs, tied for two stolen bases a game, and stole the second-most bases in the university’s history with 114.

Mississippi State ended the season with their highest slugging percentage in 10 years with a .422.

Last season, the Bulldogs dominated against eight ranked teams, including five wins against teams listed in the top five. They are the fourth SEC program that has won a series against Alabama and Tennessee in the past 10 years.

Mullins spent her first season with Mississippi State teaching hitters an advanced two-strike approach, and a more disciplined approach at the plate. As a result, the 2012 offense finished in the top 10 in runs, home runs, slugging percentage and stolen bases.

As an athlete, Mullins played for the UAB Blazers from 2001-04. Her sophomore year she led the team in RBIs and walks, and junior year she led with home runs and walks.  During Mullins’ senior year, her batting average was .311.

Mullins inherits a Troy Softball Complex that underwent a $3 million renovation prior to the 2014 season. The field was lowered to improve sight lines and the outfield was replaced with artificial grass.

The press box was also updated to include offices, a media area with press box, an expanded concessions area and new officials’ locker rooms. Also in the renovation was the construction of the Dodds Center, a state-of-the-art hitting facility. The 8,000 square-foot facility houses a player locker room, player lounge, athletic training room and hitting and pitching areas.

“Beth has a strong track record of recruiting high-level student-athletes from not only Alabama, but also across the Southeast,” Athletic Director John Hartwell said. “Beth’s extensive experience in coaching and playing, along with her south Alabama roots, make her a great fit for the job.”

Mullins announced the hiring of new assistant coach, Whitney Cloer, in July. Cloer served one season as an assistant coach from Oklahoma and is a former catcher for Arkansas.

“I am extremely excited to have a coach of Whitney’s caliber joining us at Troy,” Mullins said. “She is a proven winner and with her strong knowledge and passion for the game, Whitney will make an immediate impact on this program and our student-athletes.”

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