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Ellen Renfroe Reed Takes Love Of Softball Into Youth Coaching

(Photo by Shane Bevel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

It wasn't that long ago that Ellen Reed—then Ellen Renfroe—was tossing gems for the University of Tennessee and helping the Lady Vols advance to the Women's College World Series.

Reed, who completed her college softball playing career in 2014, threw 84 complete games, 41 shutouts and two no-hitters as a Lady Vol, while also collecting over 1,000 strikeouts during her collegiate tenure. When it was all said and done for Reed's college career, the former All-American went down as one of the best pitchers in Tennessee's program history.

Perhaps that's why Reed, who helped Tennessee to a runner-up finish at the 2013 WCWS, wasn't ready to give up softball altogether after graduation.

Following her college playing days, Reed played professionally in the NPF and spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis before transitioning into coaching roles at Bethel University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in subsequent years.

But in Reed's heart, she knew that coaching girls at the youth level of softball was her calling. So when an opportunity came up in 2018 to coach high school softball at Lakeway Christian Academy in Morristown, Tenn., Reed was thrilled about the opportunity.

"I want my players to learn how to overcome things that are challenging," Reed, who began giving lessons to youth softball players while she was in high school and college, told Softball America.

Reed's players got a taste of that lesson this past season when COVID-19 wiped out their entire season. For next season, Reed is determined to motivate her young team with the opportunity to finally get to play. She hopes her players have learned to take advantage of every opportunity they get to play the game that they love.

Reed also hopes to instill in her players a similar mentality and work ethic that helped her become a two-time All-American at Tennessee.

"I am a perfectionist," Reed said. "Doing the little things the right way is so important to me."

Though she cares about the details, Reed knows there is so much more to coaching softball than just winning and losing. That's why she's focused on helping her players learn life lessons through their experiences in the sport.

"I want my girls to learn how to communicate with people and coaches in a professional way," Reed said. "I want them to learn about life through softball."

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