One of the top young coaches in college softball, Beth Mullins has been named the second head coach in Troy University's NCAA Division I softball history, Athletic Director John Hartwell announced Tuesday.
"We are extremely excited that after an extensive nationwide search with tremendous interest to have one of the rising stars in the softball coaching world as our new head coach," Hartwell said. "Beth's extensive experience in coaching and playing, along with her south Alabama roots, make her a great fit for the job.
"Beth has a strong track record of recruiting high-level student-athletes from not only Alabama, but also across the Southeast," Hartwell said. "With the combination of our new facility and Beth's tradition of success, we are excited for the future of the Troy softball program."
Mullins just completed her third season as an assistant coach at Mississippi State and has previous coaching stops at Western Kentucky, UAB and Georgia Southern following an all-conference playing career at UAB.
Mullins inherits a newly renovated 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 and an expanded concessions area, as well as 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.
Throughout her nine-year coaching career, Mullins' teams have advanced to five NCAA Tournaments, including all three seasons at Mississippi State. Additionally, 13 of her players have earned NFCA All-Region honors, 12 have earned all-conference distinction and one was named USA National Player of the Week.
"I'm honored to be the next softball coach at Troy University," Mullins said. "I want to thank John Hartwell and (Troy Chancellor) Dr. Jack Hawkins for the opportunity to become a 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.
"I also want to thank the four amazing coaches that I've had the privilege of working under – Vann Stuedeman, Tyra Perry, Marla Townsend and Natalie Poole. They are the reason that I have this opportunity and I wouldn't be here without their support."
A native of Fairhope, Ala., Mullins worked with Mississippi State's outfielders and served as the hitting coach. Additionally, Mullins handled the organization and execution of the MSU Softball Clinics and aided in Mississippi State's recruiting efforts.
Mississippi State saw a tremendous amount of growth during Mullins' three seasons as an assistant. The Bulldogs won 39 games during the 2014 season, which tied for the third most in school history. The 2013 squad set the program record with 51 home runs, besting the previous mark by four, stole two bases per game to tie the program record, and stole the second-most bases in Mississippi State history with 114. The Bulldogs ended the season with their highest slugging percentage since 2004 with a .422 mark.
In Mullins' final season at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs defeated eight ranked teams including five wins against teams ranked in the top five. Mississippi State became just the fourth SEC program in the past 10 years to win series against Alabama and Tennessee; the Crimson Tide were ranked second and the Lady Vols were ranked fourth when the games were played.
The 2013 Bulldogs also made school history as they took down some of the nation's best squads and snapped a trio of Southeastern Conference losing streaks in the process. Mississippi State snapped a 27-game skid against Alabama, a 21-game streak versus LSU and a 17-game slump against Florida.
In her first season at Mississippi State, Mullins developed left fielder Jessica Cooley into one of the most feared power hitters in the conference. Cooley thrived under Mullins' coaching as she led the Bulldogs and finished fourth in the powerful SEC with 15 home runs – the total was the third most in Mississippi State history. Additionally, Cooley earned All-America and USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honors.
During Mullins' first season, the success wasn't just limited to Cooley as Mississippi State improved offensively across the board. The Bulldogs enhanced their numbers in batting average, runs scored, hits, walks, strikeouts, on-base percentage and stolen bases.
With an advanced two-strike approach and a more disciplined approach at the plate, Mullins guided hitters to a then-school record in walks and walks per game (3.54). The 2012 offense finished in the single-season top 10 in school history in runs, home runs, slugging percentage and stolen bases.
Prior to her arrival in Starkville, Mullins spent one season at Western Kentucky (2011) where the Lady Toppers post the highest batting average in school history (.279). The Lady Toppers also set single-season records for triples (14), RBIs (221) and slugging percentage (.419).
Mullins made the move to WKU following a three-year stint at her alma mater, UAB. In her final season with the Blazers in 2010, the squad broke 15 individual and team offensive records while making its first NCAA Tournament appearance. The group also topped Conference USA in six offensive categories. During her tenure, UAB improved in team batting average, doubles, triples, RBIs and runs scored each season.
UAB players littered the Conference USA all-conference teams as five Blazers earned all-league honors, while Martina Landrum and Alisha Smith were named Newcomer of the Year and Lauren Webster was named Freshman of the Year during her tenure.
Mullins returned to her old playing field after a two-year stop as an assistant coach at Georgia Southern. During that stint, she helped the Eagles to a Southern Conference Tournament title and the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance.
In 2006, she tutored SoCon Player of the Year Shanita Black, who broke 12 school records en route to earning conference tournament Most Outstanding Player and All-Southeast Region accolades.
A starter for the Blazers from 2001-04, Mullins was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore in 2002, she led the team in RBIs (31) and walks (17) as the Blazers won a then-program-best 39 games. During her junior campaign in 2003, Mullins led the team in home runs (five) and walks (16).
As a senior, the right-handed hitter was named All-Conference USA after anchoring the squad in batting average (.311), hits (51), on-base percentage (.379), RBIs (27) and home runs (five). She finished her career ranked in the program's top 10 in: RBIs (fourth), home runs (fifth), total bases (fifth), hits (sixth), doubles (sixth) and walks (seventh).
(Source: Troy University Athletic Department)