Podlesny Resigns as Softball Coach
Third-year head coach leaves program after most successful seasonJune 29, 2007 · MT Media Relations
Podlesny had her most successful campaign in 2007, leading Middle Tennessee to a 30-30 overall mark and a 14-9 record in Sun Belt play. The Blue Raiders posted their best SBC mark since joining the league seven years ago, won a series against perennial national power Louisiana-Lafayette and finished just one win shy of the conference tournament championship game.
"After spending the last month at home with my daughter, I felt like I had a decision to make. I can be a good coach and a good mother, but I really want to be a great mother," Podlesny said.
"I have a wonderful job but it requires all of my time and energy and that takes away from my family. I love our team and this program and I think the table is set to be very successful, for someone who can dedicate the time and take it to the next level."
Junior Ashley Cline and sophomore Martha Davis both garnered Second Team All-Sun Belt accolades this season and freshman hurler Lindsay Vander Lugt posted 21 victories and two saves in 273.2 innings of work. Seven of the team's top 10 hitters are set to return next season, including Whitney Darlington, who led the squad in four offensive categories (eight home runs, 38 RBIs, 94 total bases, .577 slugging percentage) and finished second in four others (.337 batting average, 54 hits, 12 doubles, 19 stolen bases).
"We appreciate the efforts of Leigh Podlesny and her staff and what they have been able to accomplish over the last three years at Middle Tennessee," Director of Athletics Chris Massaro said. "The program has made good progress under her leadership and we thank her for all of the hard work she has put in. Our softball program is heading in the right direction and much of that credit can be given to Leigh."
Podlesny compiled a 57-115 mark in three seasons at the helm of the program, but made significant progress over the last two years. The Blue Raiders improved by 11 games in the win column in 2006 and 2007, going from eight victories in her first season to 19 in 2006 and then 30 this year. This year's club had just three seniors and included four freshmen, three of whom (Vander Lugt, Corrie Abel and Caitlin McLure) saw significant playing time.
Her Middle Tennessee teams also excelled academically, with three ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honorees, one on the First Team and two on the Second Team. The Blue Raiders were recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association for academic excellence in 2006, ranking 23rd nationally with a 3.30 team grade-point-average. The squad has also been honored by the Sun Belt Conference for its academic performance the last three seasons.
An extremely decorated Division I assistant and pitching coach, Podlesny spent seven seasons with DePaul University before coming to Middle Tennessee. During her time at DePaul, the program achieved unheralded success and was an annual NCAA Tournament participant. In her seven years as an assistant, DePaul earned 11 Louisville Slugger All-America honors, with the pitching staff garnering seven of those All-America accolades
In 1998 she helped the Blue Demons to the Final Four of the Women's College World Series and in 2000 the team returned once again to the CWS. Podlesny also mentored nine GTE Academic All-Americans while coaching at DePaul.
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