Pike County, Troy announce new softball coaches

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A new era is underway for two Troy-area softball programs.

Pike County announced the hiring of Fawn Sims as the new head coach of the Lady Bulldogs Monday evening, and Troy University hired former Mississippi State assistant Beth Mullins as the second head coach in program history Tuesday.

Sims comes to Pike County fresh off a state championship season at Edgewood Academy in the Alabama Independent Schools Association. Prior to her three-year stint with the Wildcats, Sims had coaching stops at Central-Phenix City and Prattville.

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Sims said the decision to leave Edgewood was difficult, but she is exited to begin a new chapter in Brundidge.

“Coach Stripling laid a great foundation, and taught the team how to be winners,” Sims said. “I want to continue that and make some tweaks where they are needed. I want the players to know that I am there for them. I teach and coach for the kids, and want them to be the very best they can.”

Former Pike County coach Karie Striplin resigned the position earlier this month, and accepted a coaching position at Geneva County High School in Hartford.

Simms said she was “just sitting on my couch one day” when her phone rang. The caller ID showed a Troy number. On the other end of the line was Pike County principal, and former professional baseball player, Willie Wright

“Mr. Wright called me out of the blue one day and asked if I would be interested in coming down to meet with him,” Sims said. “We met for a couple of hours and went over things about the job, but we also talked about the returning players. Mr. Wright’s baseball experience defintely helps. The fundamentals of baseball and softball aren’t that far apart, and he knows good fundamentals when he sees it. It is a help having him around.”

Troy hires Mississippi State’s Beth Mullins: One of the top young coaches in college softball, Beth Mullins has been named the second head coach in Troy University’s NCAA Division I softball history, Athletic Director John Hartwell announced Tuesday.

“We are extremely excited that after an extensive nationwide search with tremendous interest to have one of the rising stars in the softball coaching world as our new head coach,” Hartwell said in a press release. “Beth’s extensive experience in coaching and playing, along with her south Alabama roots, make her a great fit for the job.

Throughout her nine-year coaching career, Mullins’ teams have advanced to five NCAA Tournaments, including all three seasons at Mississippi State. Additionally, 13 of her players have earned NFCA All-Region honors, 12 have earned all-conference distinction and one was named USA National Player of the Week.

“I’m honored to be the next softball coach at Troy University,” Mullins said. “I want to thank John Hartwell and (Troy Chancellor) Dr. Jack Hawkins for the opportunity to become a part of the Troy family. I’m here to win at everything we do – on the field, in the classroom and in the community. I look forward to building a championship program at Troy.”