ETSU names Chattanooga's Brad Irwin new softball coach
ETSU names Chattanooga's Brad Irwin new softball coach
Thursday, July 22, 2010

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (July 21, 2010) - East Tennessee State University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins announced Wednesday afternoon that Brad Irwin has been hired as the new Lady Buccaneer softball coach.


Irwin, the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga since 2006, brings nine years of collegiate coaching experience to Johnson City. Prior to his four-year stint at Chattanooga, Irwin served as an assistant at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. from 2003-06. Irwin began his coaching career under the watch of current Tennessee coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly at Chattanooga from 1997-99.


Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator Barbie Breedlove has been working hard to find the best fit for making this a championship program, and she believes Coach Irwin is the perfect selection to put ETSU softball on the map both locally and nationally.


"We are proud to welcome Coach Brad Irwin as the new head softball coach at ETSU," Breedlove said. "I know Coach Irwin will recruit highly skilled players and take ETSU softball to a championship level. He has paid his dues and gained terrific experience working under some of the top softball coaches in the country in Karen and Ralph Weekly and Frank Reed at Chattanooga. Brad has outstanding recruiting contacts and a talent for teaching the game of softball. He is a terrific hire and will do an outstanding job."


As for Irwin, he is very excited and honored to become the new head softball coach at ETSU, and he is ready to use his philosophy to make this a championship program.


"I am extremely excited to be the head softball coach at ETSU," Irwin said. "I consider it an honor and a privilege. I would like to thank Dr. Stanton, Dave Mullins, and Barbie Breedlove for providing me with this tremendous opportunity. They have put their faith in me, and I will work extremely hard to build the ETSU program the right way.


"We will build the program and compete for Atlantic Sun championships. Everything is in place to build a successful championship level program with the tremendous academic institution, supportive athletic administration, the community, and the softball facilities."


During his tenure at Chattanooga, the Lady Mocs won seven regular season Southern Conference championships, four SoCon Tournaments, and appeared in the NCAA Regional in 2008 and 2009. Chattanooga has posted 183 wins since Irwin arrived back to his alma mater in 2006, while receiving over 25 all-conference players, two SoCon Pitcher of the Year, and two SoCon Freshman of the Year selections. In addition to all the accolades won on the diamond, the Lady Mocs also excelled in the classroom by maintaining a team grade point average of 3.0.


From 2003-06, Irwin spent his time at Lee University where he worked with hitters and infielders. The Lady Flames had great success over the three seasons Irwin was there, as they made the national tournament in 2004 and 2006, and Lee went 55-14 to finish seventh nationally in the 2006 NAIA National Poll. Prior to becoming ranked nationally, Irwin and the Lee softball staff were named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Staff of the Year after winning the Region XI Tournament Championship in 2004.


As for Mullins, it was not only Irwin's winning track record that caught his eye, but it was his ability to recruit the top players and his commitment to make the Lady Bucs a championship program.


"Out of a group of very impressive candidates, we are happy to have someone like Brad Irwin to take our softball program to a higher level of success," said Mullins. "We feel all the pieces are in place to provide adequate support for the program. His background, maturity, and connection to the college and junior softball network will be valuable assets to building a championship program.  We are confident in his ability to recruit top level players, while developing their skills and to relating to the players in a positive way that motivates them to perform at a high level."


Irwin also spent time at the high school level as he was the head softball coach at Hixson High School for the 1999 and 2000 campaigns.


Irwin graduated from the University of Chattanooga with a degree in Sports Administration in 1999, and also earned his Master's in Secondary Education from UTC in 2002. Coach Irwin is married to his wife Rachel and they have two children.


"I would like to thank my wife, Rachel, for her support throughout the years as we have pursued this dream to be a Division I head coach," said Irwin. "Without her I would not be where I am today. I can't think of a better place than ETSU to build a championship caliber program and raise my family."


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