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Former softball stars join coaching ranks at Loyola Chicago, Marshall

LEXINGTON, Ky. - LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former University of Kentucky softball greats Brittany Cervantes and Chanda Bell, who were two key players in head coach Rachel Lawson’s transformation of the UK program into a national contender, have continued their coaching careers by being named assistant coaches at Loyola Chicago and Marshall, respectively, it was announced recently.

Cervantes and Bell, who completed their playing careers for Kentucky in the spring of 2012, spent last season on UK’s coaching staff. Cervantes served as a volunteer assistant coach helping tutor UK’s offense, while Bell was a student assistant coach and a major influence on UK’s young pitching staff.

Cervantes, who has spent the summer playing for the Chicago Bandits in National Pro Fastpitch, was a standout offensive player at Kentucky, playing catcher and third base during her tenure. The native of Chatsworth, Calif., was named first-team All-Southeastern Conference and SEC All-Defensive Team in 2012. Cervantes, who earned three SEC weekly honors during her time at Kentucky, ranks first all-time in runs batted in and home runs, while she is also fifth in games played, tied for fourth in doubles, second in walks, third in runs scored and second in slugging percentage.

The slugger hit 13 home runs in her final season with Kentucky and 15 during her junior season, which still rank as the third- and second-most homers ever hit in a season by a UK player. Cervantes’ 52 RBI in 2011 ranks second all-time on UK’s single-season record list, while her 55 runs scored in 2011 ranks most in a single season in school history.

A two-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Cervantes graduated with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in May 2012.

While Cervantes is considered one of the best hitters in program history, Bell is without question the greatest pitcher to step in the circle for the Wildcats. Named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2009 and winning four SEC weekly honors during her tenure, Bell’s name is plastered all over the UK record book. The native of Indianapolis, Ind., ranks first all-time in opponent batting average, strikeouts, wins and saves. Bell is also second all-time in appearances, innings pitched, games started and ERA.

The talented hurler, who will handle the bullpen at her new post with Marshall, is the only player in school history to post 200 strikeouts in a season, a feat she accomplished all four years she played for Kentucky. Bell owns three of the top-10 ERAs in school history, while her season win totals of 19, 18, 16 and 15 all rank in the top 10 in school history.

Bell, a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition.

For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.


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