Busy Summer as Coaches Make Moves

Updated: Sep 21

By Tom Mauldin - 9/19/2021


It’s been a busy summer for the coaching movement in the Northwest with more than a dozen head coaching changes and more to come.


Here’s a brief look as of mid-September:


Justin Shults has been named the fourth head coach in Boise State (Boise, ID) softball history, director of athletics Jeramiah Dickey announced.

 

Shults spent the last three seasons at Oregon (Eugene, OR) as an assistant coach and helped the Ducks reach a regional championship game in 2021.

 

This will be the first head coaching job for Shults. In addition to his time in Eugene, he has been an assistant coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State (2013-14), Miami, Ohio (2015-16),a and Fresno State (2017-18).


Shults has hired former LSU pitcher Allie Wallsjasper as his pitching coach and added Fran Strub as an assistant coach.

 

With Shults departing for BSU, Oregon has added Sam Marder as an assistant coach. She arrives in Eugene after successful stints as a hitting coach with multiple programs following a standout career as a player.


Marder most recently was on staff at Oklahoma, where she was a part of the Sooners' 2021 national title team as a volunteer analyst.


The Ducks also added Nikki Udria-Ragin, one of the best players in program history, to their coaching staff.

 

Udria-Ragin joins the Oregon staff after a successful run as the head coach at Biola University that saw her lead the Eagles to the 2021 NCAA Division II championship series.

 

The Biola staff was selected as the 2021 National Fastpitch Coaches Association West Region coaching staff of the year, while Udria was named the PacWest Conference coach of the year.


J.T. D’Amico left Washington (Seattle, WA) and joined the Georgia coaching staff with a resume including a 2009 NCAA National Championship, a National Pro Fastpitch Cowles Cup Championship, five Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year awards, and five Pac-12 All-Defensive Team members.  

 

D’Amico has spent the last 13 seasons on staff at Washington as the Huskies' defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator.


Idaho State (Pocatello, ID) hired former Boise associate head coach Andrew Rich to be its head coach following Crystowas l Brown’s resignation. In addition to coaching at BSU, Rich was head coach at NCAA D2 Sonoma State (CA) and had a stint as an assistant at Fresno State.


Mike Mayben was named head coach at Arizona Christian College (Glendale, AZ). After a very successful high school coaching career, Mayben spent the last four years on the staff of two time NAIA Champion Southern Oregon University (Ashland, OR).


Prior to his stay at SOU, Mayben was among Oregon’s most successful high school coaches in leading North Medford High School to several state championships.


Kara Dressel returns to Puget Sound University (Tacoma, WA) as head coach of the Logger softball team.


Dressel brings with her more than six years of collegiate coaching experience, five of which she spent serving as the assistant coach at Puget Sound (2007-2012). She was also the head assistant coach for College of the Redwoods, where she worked primarily with pitchers.


Big Bend CC (Moses Lake, WA) has hired Ron Thompson as its next head coach. Thompson brings 16 years as a travel club coach and headed USA Explosion for 11 years. During four seasons with Connell High School (WA) the team won three state titles. 


Mike Garouke left Big Bend as head coach to become an assistant at Dixie State (St. George, UT).


Ben Knopf was hired to take the lead at BMCC (Pendleton, OR). He most recently coached at Bottineau College (ND) and Eastern Oregon University (LaGrande, OR).


Katie Aden left Centralia College (Centrailia, WA) where she was the head coach for Clackamas College (Clackamas, OR) and has been named associate head coach. She attended Clackamas and played for head coach Jessica Buel. 


Former Eastern Oregon standout Payton Pocklington has been hired to replace Aden as head coach at Centralia.


North Idaho College (Coeur‘d Alene, ID) has taken the “interim” off of head coach Shay Fuson’s title and named her full-time head softball coach. She had been interim for the past two years and was an assistant for Don Don Williams for six years previous to that.


Klamath Henry was named head coach at Chemeketa CC (Salem, OR). She played at Emory College (Atlanta, GA) and was a graduated assistant at Cal-State Fullerton (CA).


Warner Pacific University Athletic Director, Mike Wilson said the Portland-based college has started a national search to replace Nathan Ohta, who has accepted an offer to join Linda Garza's coaching staff at the University of Nevada, Reno, Ohta coached at W-P for three seasons.


Central Washington University (Ellensburg, WA) head softball coach Alison Mitchell has stepped down to pursue a new opportunity as an assistant coach for the University of Montana (Missoula, MT).