Belmont University

Belmont University Athletics
Curb Event Center - 2002 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, TN 37212
Division 1 Tennessee Southeast
Private Medium National competitor


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Laura Matthews

Belmont University Director of Athletics Scott Corley announced on July 20, 2020 the hiring of Laura Matthews as the 13th head softball coach in program history.

"I am excited to welcome Laura into the Belmont family as our next softball coach. We had an extremely deep pool of candidates but throughout the process Laura's name kept coming up," said Corley.

"In the end, she had all the attributes we were looking for; head coaching experience, winning pedigree, ability to recruit, and placing the needs of her student-athletes first. Also, being a Nashville native and having a sister who graduated from Belmont, Laura has a great understanding of our university and athletic program."

She joins the Bruins after holding a similar position at Wright State from 2017 until the university eliminated the program in Spring 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While with the Raiders, Matthews helmed a program that posted a .298 team batting in the pandemic shortened 2020 season, which stood 36th nationally outside of Power 5 institutions. WSU also led the Horizon League in batting average, home runs and slugging percentage.

Committed to student-athlete excellence in the classroom, Matthews has seen three players named to the Horizon League's All-Academic Team as well as more than 15 earn Honor Roll distinction from the conference.

An eye for talent, Matthews coached the 2018 Horizon League Pitcher of the Year in her first season with the program. The Raiders also boasted nine All-Conference performers during her stint as head coach.

Prior to her arrival at Wright State, she served for five years as the head coach at Wittenberg University in Ohio. During her turn at the Division III perennial standout, Matthews led the Tigers to a 128-57-1 record for a .691 winning percentage. Her teams finished first or second in each season in the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC), including the regular-season title in 2017 and a nod for Matthews as the NCAC Coach of the Year plus a trip to the NCAA tournament the previous season. Seven Tigers went on to be recognized as All-Region honorees, five league Newcomers of the Year, two Pitchers of the Year, 26 all league players and a CoSIDA Academic All American during her five seasons.

She began her career as an assistant coach, spending four years at Lake Forest. The program posted an overall record of 72-68-1 during that span. Matthews oversaw the pitching staff and helped the Foresters drop their team earned run average by 0.70 runs per game in 2012. Lake Forest received recognition as they were ranked 24th nationally when they finished 24-14-1.

"I'm so honored to be named the head coach of the Belmont softball program," Matthews said. "Belmont is a truly special university, and I want to thank Scott Corley, Renee Schultz and the rest of the hiring committee for the opportunity to be a Bruin. I can't wait to get to campus and get to work with the women in this program as we look to build a top OVC softball program," Matthews said.

Matthews will be returning to her Nashville roots as she takes the helm of the Bruin program. The graduate of Franklin Road Academy completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Dayton, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2008. The four-year letter winner was tabbed an Academic All-America selection by both the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and ESPN The Magazine and College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) during her senior campaign. The catcher also earned an Academic All-Conference nod from the Atlantic 10, finishing with career-best marks in hits (44), runs (37), doubles (8), runners caught stealing (16) and a team-best .462 on-base percentage while starting all 51 games behind the plate for the Flyers.

Matthews and family reside in Nashville.

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Kennedy Haynes

Kennedy Haynes joined the Belmont Softball staff as an assistant coach in August 2020.

Haynes is a familiar face to the Matthews helmed dugout, serving as an assistant at the new BU coach’s two previous stops, including Wittenberg University and Wright State.

“Kennedy is a tremendous young coach who has a great ability to connect with players and drive a program forward,” Matthews said. “Her work ethic and passion for the game of softball are very high-level, and I’ve been able to see first-hand her ability to help players develop.”

The Indianapolis native began her career at Wittenberg as an assistant coach during the 2016-17. The Tigers captured the 2017 North Coast Atlantic Conference (NCAC) regular season title and advanced to the league tournament for a second consecutive season. WU boasted six All-Conference selections, including Pitcher and Newcomer of the Year, and a pair of NFCA All-Region selections from the standout squad.

The following season, Haynes was elevated to interim head coach after Matthews moved on to take the head spot at Wright State. The Tigers went on to win the 2018 regular season NCAC Championship after going 24-17 overall and 15-1 in league play and advanced to the conference tournament, lifted by 6 All-Conference athletes, including Pitcher of the Year.

At the conclusion of that season, Haynes was reunited with Laura Matthews as an assistant coach at Wright State, before the program was ended in the spring of 2020. During her time with the Raiders, she helped the program rebuild, netting three All-Horizon League honorees in 2019.

The Bruin staff addition completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Dayton, excelling as a member of the softball team and in the classroom. The two-time team captain helped the Flyers win the 2015 Atlantic-10 Conference Regular Season Championship title. Over her career, Haynes started in 163 games and playing in 190 over four seasons.

“I am so excited to be working with her again, and I think she will fit in very well with the Belmont athletic department culture,” Matthews said.

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Shannon Plese

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