Molly Fichtner, who has seen success at the highest levels of the game, enters her first year as ULM's seventh head softball coach, as announced by interim athletics director Scott McDonald on Friday, Sept. 21. The Houston, Texas, native has spent the last year as an assistant coach at East Carolina University. The appointment is pending approval by the University of Louisiana system's Board of Supervisors.
"Molly is highly-respected within the coaching community and her academic achievements garnered as a student-athlete have transferred over into her coaching career, leading her to great heights, and thankfully ULM," ULM Interim Athletics Director Scott McDonald said. "She has an outstanding reputation for player development and proven success in promoting the importance of academics with student-athletes. We are elated to have Molly join us at ULM, and we are thrilled about the impact she's going to have on the softball program and the community."
Fichtner makes the transition to ULM from Greenville where she was an assistant coach for the ECU softball program. Before her time with the Pirates, Fichtner spent two seasons in the same role at Dartmouth College.
After her honor-filled collegiate career, Fichtner remained at Alabama as a volunteer coach while pursuing her master's degree. After finishing her master's degree in 2015, she played one season in the National Fastpitch (NPF) league with the Dallas Charge.
Fichtner is a 2014 graduate of Alabama, who started her collegiate career at UTSA in San Antonio, Texas, before transferring to Tuscaloosa for her final two seasons. With the Crimson Tide, Fichtner appeared in 102 games, starting in 88.
As a senior, she was named to the All-SEC Second Team after pacing the Crimson Tide with a .391 batting average in conference play while tallying 27 hits, seven doubles and 16 RBI. Fichtner threw out a conference-leading seven would-be base stealers and committed just two errors in 125 chances with no passed balls behind the dish for a .984 fielding percentage in SEC play. Fichtner helped the Crimson Tide reach the Women's College World Series as Alabama advanced all the way to the National Championship Series.
Patrick Murphy, head softball coach at the University of Alabama, had only positive things to say about ULM's newest addition, "Molly is a great choice to lead the ULM softball program. She's smart, organized, hard-working and grounded. I'm excited for the young ladies in that program."
In the classroom at Alabama, Fichtner earned President's List status all four semesters and was named a 2014 First-Team Academic All-American before graduating Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA. Fichtner also earned national-level recognition when selected as a National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-America Scholar-Athlete in 2013.
Fichtner carried over her success in the classroom to her coaching duties, assisting with the supervision of student-athlete academic progress and working with the academic advisors to ensure the student-athletes are thriving on and off the field.
During her time at UTSA, Fichtner was a two-time All-Southland Conference player, the 2011 Southland Freshman of the Year and 2012 Southland's Student-Athlete of the Year.
During her years as an assistant coach at ECU and Dartmouth, Fichtner became familiar with the responsibilities required to run an efficient and successful softball program. She oversaw all administrative management duties for each program, in addition to her on-field and team responsibilities.
Fichtner shares her immense awareness of the game with her student-athletes, assisting with drills, studying film, and further growing her knowledge through statistical research and data collection. She has coached and counseled players in all positions, specializing in outfield skills, catching, and hitting. Fichtner has built a repertoire of experience in breaking down film, preparing scouting reports and practice plans, and preparing student-athletes for both the physical and mental aspects of the game.
"I want to thank President Dr. Nick Bruno, Interim Athletic Director Scott McDonald, and Executive Associate Director of Athletics Todd Dooley for this incredible opportunity," Fichtner said. "I am beyond honored to be the next head coach for the ULM softball program. I look forward to building off the foundation set here and promoting ULM to prominence in the Sun Belt Conference and beyond!"
Fichtner received her Master of Science degree in sports management from the University of Alabama in May 2015 only one year after earning a bachelor's degree in human environmental sciences from UA as well.