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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Coaching Changes, Part 1

I don't know if it's just me and never having really paid close attention to it in past years, but there seemed to be a spike in coaching moves this off-season. A lot of moves at major-name universities took place, including some changing of the guard at the head coaching position.

It's always been my goal to be something of a resource here, so I decided to put all of the coaching moves (that I know about) down in one place, and make it available for anybody and everybody to refer to.

I've saved the categorized & alphabetized list on Google Documents, and it should be available to any and all through this link.

In contrast to most of the coverage we provide here at Justin's World, this list is not limited solely to Division 1. If I was made aware of a coaching move at a school at another level, and it involved someone that D1 fans would recognize, I noted it, as well.

There are a good number of moves that I wanted to take a special look at it, so we're going to focus on those over the next two days. Today, we're gonna look at the head coaches.


 CRAIG NICHOLSON - ARIZONA STATE
 <<< After the departure of Clint Myers, the Sun Devils pulled Nicholson away from Ball State. Transition from a program like that to a team that is regularly a championship contender won't necessarily be a smooth one. With an extremely talented roster, ASU could retain their spot atop the best teams in the country or they could have a learning curve under a new coaching staff and take a little bit to get acclimated. Nicholson is a good coach, though, and I think it was a solid hire.





 CLINT MYERS - AUBURN
 <<< There were a lot of questions as to why a coach of Myers' caliber would leave a program like ASU to go to Auburn. More time with family seems to be a big factor in that decision. His two sons are both on his coaching staff with the Tigers, and it looks like the Tigers have found the coach they were looking forward to to turn their program around.
   TYRA PERRY - BALL STATE
   <<< As you'll notice, a lot of these moves are directly connected. When Nicholson left Ball State, the Cardinals went looking for their new head coach and decided on Perry. Formerly at Western Kentucky, Perry had the WKU program on the rise. Under Perry's excellent tutelage, Ball State stands a solid chance at repeating as MAC regular-season champions. Keep an eye on Perry - if she enjoys continued success with the Cardinals, she could be in line for an a-list hire in the span of just a few years.
  TRENA PEEL - BUFFALO
  <<< I lauded the Bulls' off-season changes in my Teams to Watch post,but there was no move they made that was bigger or more impactful than hiring Peel to lead the program. A former All-American at LSU and an ex-player in the professional league, Peel has made her mark now as a coach. Her first head coaching guy came at Hampton, where she built the program in just three seasons. She increased her team's win total each season she was at the school, and won the conference title in her final year with the Pirates. I expect her to turn the Bulls program around in like manner, and add another impressive achievement to her resume.
 LINDA KALAFATIS - COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
<<< Kalafatis' will be a familiar name to softball fans, especially to those of the Big Ten. She spent sixteen seasons at the helm of the Ohio State program, collecting more than 530 victories with the Buckeyes, and collecting her 800th career win in 2012. The CofC program made a huge splash with this hire, and built a strong coaching staff under her.
    AMANDA LEHOTAK - PENN STATE
    <<< Lehotak left the UTSA program to take the Nittany Lions job and brought her coaching staff with her. Lehotak is a young, excellent softball mind, and I think the PSU program is in a good place with her as their leader. Michigan and Nebraska may be the"big dogs" in the Big 10 right now, but do not be surprised if the Nittany Lions join those ranks sooner rather than later. I think Lehotak is the coach that can get them there.
   BARB SHERWOOD - PORTLAND STATE
   <<< Sherwood paid her dues as a longtime assistant at Virginia Tech before earning her way to the head coaching job at PSU. Taking over the reins of a team that has gone to the NCAA tournament four times in the past eight seasons, she gets her chance to lead a program at the collegiate level, after a season as field manager of the Akron Racers in 2009. Under Sherwood's guidance, I expect to see the Vikings as frequent NCAA tournament guests.
    STEVE JOHNSON - UTAH STATE
    <<< As with Sherwood, Johnson was a coach who was in a position that it was obviously only a matter of time before he got his own HC gig. I expected Johnson to be one of the top candidates available this off-season, though he wasn't available for long before the Aggies snatched him up. Johnson has a good softball mind, great assistant coaches, and a solid talent pool to work with - he's got the makings of a contender, and he's the type of coach who can put the pieces together and run it as one cohesive, successful unit.

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