Carson-Newman University

Carson-Newman Athletic Department
2130 S. Branner Ave. Jefferson City, TN 37760
Division 2 Tennessee Southeast
Private Small Competitive team


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Michael Graves

Graves returns for his 15th season as a member of the Carson-Newman softball coaching staff and is the program's second ever head coach. He was named to that position on May 3, 2018 after spending two weeks as an interim head coach following Vickee Kazee-Hollifield's retirement.

Graves was a volunteer assistant in 2014 and worked as Kazee-Hollifield's lead assistant from 1992-2001.

Carson-Newman has won either a regular season or tournament crown in all but one of Graves' years as a paid assistant on Kazee-Hollifield's staff.

Graves coached 10 All-Americans in his tenures at C-N. He helped tutor Kelli Hensley, as well as Elayna Siebert and Bre Lockett to their record-setting seasons in 2014 and 2015, respective. Then coached his first All-Americans who were also freshmen in 2017 in Lacie Rinus and Abby Fiessinger. He also guided Carson-Newman Hall of Famers Sammi Hatcher and Heather Randolph to All-American seasons in the mid-90s. In addition, first basemen Lindi Bordine and Brandi Hardin also earned All-American honors in 1993 and 1992, respectively.

In addition, Graves has helped tutor 18 all-region selections and 57 all-conference picks. He counts Randolph, Hatcher, Libby Conley and Staci Fish among the best players he's coached.

Carson-Newman is 483-162 with Graves as an assistant.

Graves resides in Alcoa, Tenn. with his wife Megan and daughter Alexis. They also have a dog, a boxer, named Penny.

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Kristen Toppel

Toppel is in her first year as an assistant coach with the Carson-Newman softball program.

A two-time All-SAC shortstop, Toppel helped Carson-Newman to two South Atlantic Conference regular season titles, a pair of tournament titles and three trips to NCAA regional play.

A life-time .290 hitter and two-time All-SAC selection, Toppel started 197 games for Carson-Newman and played in 199.

She had 169 knocks, 34 doubles and nine home runs. She stole 48 bases in 56 attempts in her career.

Toppel ranks just outside the top 10 in SAC history for runs scored and stolen bases for a career.

She matched the single-game school record for doubles with three in a game at Fort Valley State her freshman season. Twice that year she matched a then 20-year-old record for runs scored in a single-game. She crossed home plate five times against Fort Valley State and also against Bluefield State.

Toppel was hit by a pitch 32 times in her career, narrowly missing out on the top 25 in NCAA history for the most time struck by a pitch in a career.

She also owns the fifth longest hitting streak in school history. That came during an All-SAC sophomore season. She also earned SAC and TSWA player of the Week and hit .345 for the year.

Toppel produced a 16-game hitting streak between February and March for the Eagles, the fourth longest in school history. As a sophomore she finished in the top 15 in the conference in eight offensive statistical categories.

During her player of the week run, Toppel batted .526 (10-for-19) with one double, two home runs, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in six games for the Eagles. The Roanoke, Va., native posted two hits in both games of a doubleheader versus Bluefield State College, scoring twice in the opener and hitting a three-run inside-the-park homer in the second contest.

Toppel resides in Knoxville.

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