University of Louisiana at Monroe

ULM Athletics
308 Warhawk Way Monroe, LA 71209
Division 1 Louisiana South
Public Medium National competitor


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Molly Fichtner

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.

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Jessica Thornton

Thornton first joing the staff in 2016, as an assistant coach under former head coach Corey Lyon. Since, Thornton has made both an offensive and defensive impact on the program.

Thornton, for the last three seasons, coached all-star athlete Rochelle Roberts. Roberts a four-time Sun Belt All-Conference player, became a Top-25 USA/ASA Player of the Year candidate in 2016, and graduated in 2018 after breaking ULM's all-time hits record (246) and signing off as one of the most successful base runners in ULM history.

Since her arrival, Thornton has predominately instructed the base runners, coaching the Warhawks to a top 30 finish in stolen bases in all of Division I in 2018. Over the past three seasons, ULM has finished the year ranked as high as 12th (2016), with this seasons 81% stolen base success rate being the highest in Thornton's time at ULM.

Thornton, making an impact off the field, is the head of softball operations. Thornton over sees the booking of team travel, meals, distributing team apparel, organizing recruiting functions and campus visits, and supporting camp operations.

The Vancouver, Washington native played two seasons as an outfielder at Mount Hood Community College, under Jacksonville State alum, coach Meadow McWhorter. She earned NFCA All-America honors as a sophomore and Southern Region Player of the Year as a freshman. She led MHCC to a combined 69-18 record, a Southern region title, and back-to-back NWAC championships. She was named the MHCC Female Athlete of the Year in 2011 and earned a Southern Region First Team honor. Thornton also earned NWAACC all-academic honors as a sophomore.

She then transferred to Jacksonville State University where she finished her playing career as an outfielder and designated hitter under long time coach Jana McGinnis. Thornton appeared in 98 games for the Gamecocks and made 87 starts during her two-year JSU career. The Gamecocks won the 2013 Ohio Valley Championship, which gave them a berth to the 2013 NCAA regional tournament in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Personal: Born July 6. 1991 in Portland, Oregon to Chris and Shirley Guy…Has one sister, Christi…Wife to Cole Thornton, maiden name Guy. Jessica and Cole recently welcomed son, Colby earlier this summer....Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Wellness…Master of Science in Human Performance.

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Lea Wodach

Assistant Softball Coach

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