Who Will Maryland Hire?
Maryland has been without a head coach since it parted ways with Julie Wright on Aug. 7. Students began the fall semester on Aug. 26 and with the recruiting date of Sept. 1 upon us, Softball America is here to provide you with three coaches who should be considered for the vacancy.
Whoever the Terps decide to hire, should be able to win at Maryland. Programs like Towson and Maryland Baltimore County have both been consistently better over the past couple years. UMBC made the NCAA Tournament last season and Towson competed in the NISC in 2018.
Yolanda McRae just completed her fourth season as an assistant coach at Arkansas. She joined the Razorbacks with head coach Courtney Deifel after a season at Maryland, which was her second stint with the Terps.
She works day-to-day with the offense and since she arrived at Arkansas, the team’s hitting has improved tremendously. The Razorbacks improved from 12th in the SEC in 2016 to seventh in 2017.
Another seventh-best SEC team average (.288) in 2019 offset the lack of run production by the Razorbacks. They also finished 12th in plate appearances and at-bats but they did finish third in strikeouts.
McRae spent 2010 and 2011 in College Park and helped Maryland to a 74-43 record and two NCAA Tournament appearances in those two years. In 2011, the Terps won 40 games which was the second-highest in program history. They also finished third in the ACC.
She returned to Maryland in 2015 after a couple seasons at Virginia and one at Georgia. That season saw a 16-win improvement along with a 40-point team batting average improvement. The offense also exploded for 69 home runs (20 in 2014) and 339 runs scored, more than 150 runs better than 2014. The offense ranked fourth nationally in doubles and 27th in runs and homers. Not to mention, the Terps set program records in doubles, RBIs and walks.
Vann Stuedeman and Mississippi State parted ways on July 16. In eight seasons, she compiled a record of 276-189 with an SEC recored of 69-127.
She led the Bulldogs to NCAA Tournament appearances in seven of her eight seasons and took the 2018 squad into the record book. The team won its first SEC Tournament game since 2005 with a 1-0 shutout against Texas A&M and reached a Regional Final for the first time since 2005.
Multiple players were tabbed as All-Americans for just the third time in program history in 2019 and three Bulldogs were named First-Team All-SEC for the first time in program history.
Off the field, Stuedeman retired Alex Wilcox’ number and secured her presence within the Mississippi State athletic department for years to come.
Prior to her time in Starkville, she served as an assistant coach at Alabama. In charge of pitching, she helped the Tide go 579-150 from 2000-11. Her staff had a sub-2.00 earned run average in eight of her 11 seasons and averaged 485 strikeouts.
She spent three years as an assistant to her sister, Les Stuedeman, at Alabama-Huntsville from 1997-99 and was a grad assistant at West Alabama from 1995-96.
Now, we know what you’re thinking when you read his name and relate it to the Big Ten. So here’s a fact, there isn’t a male head coach currently in the Big Ten. If there is a man who can break the mold, it is Mark Montgomery.
He has 19 years of collegiate coaching experience, 17 at the Division-I level.
Montgomery has spent the past seven years at Louisiana Tech and has brought the Lady Techsters back to national prominence on a consistent basis in that time.
The 2019 graduating class of led Tech to 149 wins in four years, the sixth-most in program history. They also claimed the program’s first regular season conference title and a pair of C-USA Tournament titles.
Montgomery is a master recruiter and has built his program with high school recruits and small school transfers. He led Tech to 45 wins in 2019, the second-most in program history. He was named C-USA’s co-Coach of the Year and, in a state full of competitive collegiate softball, he was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association co-Coach of the Year for the second time.
The Lady Techsters have won 30-plus games in five consecutive seasons and has an overall record of 226-161 in Ruston.
Prior to Louisiana Tech, Montgomery spent two years at Georgetown (NAIA), eight years at Centenary and two years at Northern Colorado.
During his time at Centenary, he won 216 games that included wins over Florida, Auburn, Arkansas, Minnesota, Syracuse, Boston College and New Mexico. The Ladies earned their first winning season in 13 years under his leadership in 2004, tied a program-record of 36 wins and advanced to the their first-ever NCAA Tournament.
They returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and then the school decided to drop down to Division III.
His 19-year career coaching record is 556-483.