UAB head coach Marla Townsend has been promoted within the university's athletic department and will abdicate the reins of the Blazers softball program to veteran assistant and program alum Amanda Ellis.
The longtime Blazer leader received the new title of Senior Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Initiatives and Engagement with her promotion, according to a university press release.
Townsend had been head coach of the Blazers for eighteen seasons, collecting 532 wins during her tenure and leading the squad to five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 2010 to 2014. The streak included an NCAA regional championship in 2013.
The three-time Conference USA Coach of the Year (2002, 2006, 2013), Townsend's team missed the NCAA tournament in each of the past three seasons and finished below the .500 plateau in both 2016 and 2017. The Blazers finished second in the C-USA West division in the most recent season and were one-and-done in the conference tournament.
Ellis, a Blazers alum, will assume the title of Interim Head Coach for the 2018 season. An assistant coach on Townsend's staff since 2014, she previously coached at the high school level and held a support staff role at the school following her graduation in 2004.
Program sources confirmed to JWOS that assistant coach Erica Sisson and recently-hired volunteer assistant Amber Torres Reimers will remain on Ellis' staff, though neither were mentioned in the university release and UAB did not immediately return a request for comment.