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On the road again

On the road again

Beth Mullins comes to Troy after three successful seasons as an assistant coach at Mississippi State. Mullins, known as an excellent recruiter, feels that if she can get prospects to Troy, she will have no trouble getting them sign . (Photo/Mississippi State athletics)
Beth Mullins ,right, comes to Troy after three successful seasons as an assistant coach at Mississippi State. Mullins, known as an excellent recruiter, feels that if she can get prospects to Troy, she will have no trouble getting them sign . (Photo/Mississippi State athletics)

New Troy softball coach hard at work on recruiting trail

New Troy softball coach Beth Mullins has yet to find time to search for a place to live in her new hometown. Why hasn’t she taken a day to find a house? Because she is more focused on finding talent.

Less than 48 hours after accepting the offer, Mullins had Troy in her rear view mirror and was barreling up Interstate 85 to Atlanta on the recruiting trail. Mullins knows softball in the Deep South well, having grown up in Fairhope, Alabama, playing at UAB and coaching at Georgia Southern, UAB, Western Kentucky and most recently Mississippi State.

At every stop on her personal coaching carousel, Mullins has been a dynamic recruiter. She has every intention on bringing excitement back to Troy softball.

“I am beyond excited to be at Troy,” Mullins said. “From the minute I stepped on campus for my interview, I knew this is where I wanted to be. John (Hartwell, Troy athletic director) has a great vision for the future of all sports, and I am happy to be part of it.”

Trips to Birmingham and Colorado are on her itinerary in the coming weeks, with one single goal in mind: get players to Troy.

Mullins fully believes that if she can get players on campus, she can get them to fall in love with the facilities, the university and the town, much like she did earlier this year.

“Troy is a very special place,” Mullins said. “The university and town are full of amazing people, and I know that if these recruits get to interact with this amazing place, they will want to be a part of this program for four years.”

Troy finished as the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Runner-up in 2010, but has not posted a winning record in conference play since 2009. In the last five seasons, Troy has limped to 133-142-2 overall record and a dismal 43-66 mark in Sun Belt play.

Despite the lack luster record in recent seasons, Mullins said she can “easily sell Troy” to potential recruits. The Troy Softball Complex recently underwent a major renovation, including field and dugout improvements and the addition of the Dodds Center.

The Dodds Center, an 8,000 square foot facility located adjacent to the field, houses a player locker room, player lounge, athletic training room and hitting and pitching areas.

“The school in itself sells itself,” Mullins said. “This great university has a lot of diverse majors, and is fully committed to athletics and softball. The softball facilities are some of the best in the nation without a doubt. If I had children, Troy is the place I would to send them to college.”

Mullins becomes just the second Troy softball coach ever.

Former head coach Melanie Davis resigned in May. Davis compiled a 780-509-4 record over her 21 seasons at Troy and led the Trojans to a pair of conference titles and one NCAA Regional berth.

The day after being hired, Mullins met with six returning Troy players and laid the foundation on which the new era of Troy softball will be built.

“The girls I met with fired me up even more,” Mullins. “They are a hard working group that I am excited to work with. We are going to work together to get Troy back to where we want to be: competing for conference titles.”

Mullins won’t stop to rest, or go house hunting, until she has Troy winning again. If her master plan comes together, she will be doing both very soon.

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Troy signs 12 junior college players

The Troy Trojans inked 13 players on National Signing Day, and 19 players during the period officially.

Of those 19, 12 future Trojans come from the junior college ranks, and will be thrust in to the mix and will compete for playing time almost immediately.

Troy signed a trio of defensive backs from Butler Community College in Kansas. John Knight, Tajarvis Fuller and Darrin Reddick will compete for playing time in the secondary.

Rashad Dillard, defensive tackle from Coffeyville, Vinton Harris, of Dodge City, Teddy Ruben, of Scottsdale Community College, Carnell Simon, of Hutchinson, Jarvis Williams, of Antelope Valley, Nyck Young, from Victor Valley, join mid-year signees Jarvis Bentley, Connor Bravard and Dontreal Pruitt.

Troy recruiting coordinator Randy Butler said the Trojans needed to sign players that are ready.

“We needed some immediate help on the defensive line,” said Butler. “We have some young guys coming, but they have never been in the fire, so to speak. When I go over to Athens, Georgia this year I want to have some guys that have played another level of football.”

Troy did sign two local high school players, CHHS’ John Johnson and Barbour County receiver Emmanuel Thompson.

Butler said the local talent is just as good now as it has ever been.

“We are always going to search out the local kids,” said Butler. “If they fit our needs, and they want to be here, then we are going to recruit them.”


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Hosting event beneficial to Trojans

By Ryan McCollough

Dozens of scouts from junior colleges, four-year universities and professional teams converged on Riddle-Pace Field looking for the next great baseball player.

For many of those scouts the trip to Troy took hours, but for Troy’s Mark Smartt it took just a few steps.

The Alabama Baseball Coaches Association Underclassmen All-Star Event saw 120 of the best upcoming juniors and seniors go through workouts and games on Troy’s campus.

Smartt, a veteran assistant on the Troy staff, said the event is a good thing for not only baseball, but all parts of Troy University.

“We are very fortunate at Troy to host this event,” Smartt said. “For Troy is a great opportunity for us to have people on our campus, eating in our cafeteria and seeing our facilities. It is good for all parts of this great university.”

The event allows baseball players from across the state to play games in front of scouts, recruiters and family members, by being recognized as some of the better underclassmen in the game.

The players are coached in the games by various community college instructors.

Smartt said that the baseball program benefits from being able to see the kids early and establish a relationship with them.

“Recruiting is the most important thing we do,” Smartt said. “The biggest challenge in recruiting is getting people to your field, but this week we have 120 really good kids on our campus. Now, when we call, they know who we are and Troy has a place in their mind.”

The 2013 event was the fourteenth for the Ala. BCA and eighth in Troy.

Smartt said that with all the recreation leagues, tournament teams and legion ball, the event is a blessing to have so many talented players at one place and at one time.

“Summer has become more valuable to our recruiting efforts,” Smartt said. “All the high school kids play in different tournaments, here at our field and at others. Anytime we can have a kid here, it is a win for Troy.