BARBOURVILLE, Ky. -- Union College Interim Director of Athletics Tim Curry recently announced that Ashton Strode has been tabbed to take over the Lady Bulldog softball program. Strode is the ninth coach in the history of the UC program.
“We are very excited to have Ashton join our staff at Union College,” said Curry. “Although she is a young coach, her extensive background in the game have prepared her well to lead our program into the future.”
Strode comes to Barbourville off a two-season stint as an assistant coach at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.
This past season, Union went 46-12 overall, and captured the 2012 TranSouth Conference Championship, the program’s first since 2004. The season culminated with a birth in the 2012 NAIA National Tournament, marking the program’s first trip since 2005, as they finished 16th in the country in the final NAIA Coaches Poll of the season.
At Union, Strode coached the team’s pitching staff, who in 2012 posted a team ERA of 2.04. Strode also coached TranSouth Player of the Year Shelby Lamb, and Pitcher of the Year Brooke Thomas, as six player were named First-Team All-Conference.
“I’m very excited to be taking the position here at Union College,” said Strode. “I’m ready to get going, and start working with the student-athletes we have here. My main goal is to build off of what has been done the past few years, and try to duplicate some of the success we had at Union University right here in Barbourville.”
Collegiately, Strode played her college ball at Tennessee-Martin, where in 2006 she tossed the school’s first perfect game, and tied the program single game strikeout record. She was named the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Newcomer of the Year in ‘06, and earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Academic All-American honors after her senior season in 2008.
Off the field, Strode has served as a Tournament Director for the United States Fastpitch Association since 2009, planning and supervising youth tournaments throughout the Southeastern U.S. She’s also served as a one-on-one pitching and batting instructor.
Strode, a native of Baker, Fla. earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and Behavioral Sciences from UT-Martin in 2009. She is also finishing up her Master of Arts in Sports Administration from Union University, and plans to earn the degree later this year.
Strode will look to build on the Lady Bulldogs’ success on the diamond the last few years, as the squad finished 27-17 at the end of the 2012 campaign.
UC has had consecutive student-athletes named Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Player of the Year, with catcher Gina Loflin winning this award this past season, and pitcher Falon Catalano winning the award in 2010. The program also made their first trip to the NAIA National Tournament in 2009 after capturing the AAC Tournament title.