East Tennessee State University

ETSU Athletics
P.O. Box 70707 Johnson City, TN 37614
Division 1 Tennessee Southeast
Public Large National competitor

Coaches

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Brad Irwin

Brad Irwin enters his sixth season at the helm of ETSU Buccaneer Softball as he was introduced head coach on July 21, 2010.


Irwin, the top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga since 2006, brings nine years of collegiate coaching experience to Johnson City. Prior to his four-year stint at Chattanooga, Irwin served as an assistant at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., from 2003-06. Irwin began his coaching career under the watch of current Tennessee coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly at Chattanooga from 1997-99.


"I am extremely excited to be the head softball coach at ETSU," Irwin said. "I consider it an honor and a privilege. I would like to thank Dr. Stanton, Dave Mullins, and Barbie Breedlove for providing me with this tremendous opportunity. They have put their faith in me, and I will work extremely hard to build the ETSU program the right way."


"We will build the program and compete for Atlantic Sun championships. Everything is in place to build a successful championship-level program with the tremendous academic institution, supportive athletic administration, the community, and the softball facilities."


Despite posting a 15-33 record in year one at ETSU, Irwin coached a pair of Buccaneer players to Atlantic Sun All-Conference Teams. Lower – who was named First Team All-Atlantic Sun – became the first ETSU player to receive the honor since 2007, while Katie Henderson was named Second Team All-A-Sun for the first time in her career. Lower’s .353 batting average was the third highest mark in program history, while her .504 slugging percentage ranked fifth. Meanwhile, Henderson broke the ETSU single-season record for on-base percentage, while her slugging percentage was the third highest in a season and her batting average was fourth.


In the classroom, the Bucs recorded a 3.495 grade-point-average in 2010-11, which ranked ninth among NCAA Division I leaders, while eight Buccaneer players received National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American Scholar Athlete honors by posting a GPA higher than a 3.50 in the 2010-11 academic year.


During his tenure at Chattanooga, the Lady Mocs won seven regular season Southern Conference championships, four SoCon Tournaments, and appeared in the NCAA Regional in 2008 and 2009. Chattanooga has posted 183 wins since Irwin arrived back to his alma mater in 2006, while receiving over 25 all-conference players, two SoCon Pitcher of the Year, and two SoCon Freshman of the Year selections. In addition to all the accolades won on the diamond, the Lady Mocs also excelled in the classroom by maintaining a team grade point average of 3.0.


From 2003-06, Irwin spent his time at Lee University where he worked with hitters and infielders. The Lady Flames had great success over the three seasons Irwin was there, as they made the national tournament in 2004 and 2006, and Lee went 55-14 to finish seventh nationally in the 2006 NAIA National Poll. Prior to becoming ranked nationally, Irwin and the Lee softball staff were named National Fastpitch Coaches Association Staff of the Year after winning the Region XI Tournament Championship in 2004.


Irwin also spent time at the high school level as he was the head softball coach at Hixson High School for the 1999 and 2000 campaigns.


Irwin graduated from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga with a degree in Sports Administration in 1999, and also earned his master's in Secondary Education from UTC in 2002. Coach Irwin is married to his wife Rachel and they have two children.


"I would like to thank my wife, Rachel, for her support throughout the years as we have pursued this dream to be a Division I head coach," said Irwin. "Without her I would not be where I am today. I can't think of a better place than ETSU to build a championship caliber program and raise my family."

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Email coach

Paige Neely

Paige Neely enters her first season as a Graduate Assistant for the ETSU softball program in 2017. Neely spent last season with Tennessee State as an assistant where she mainly worked with the infield, hitters and other day-to-day duties. During her time at TSU she was instrumental in the defense improving in fielding percentage and number of double plays turned.


As a player, Neely spent her freshman season at Austin Peay where she earned Second Team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors as well as being named to the OVC All-Newcomers Team. At Lipscomb, Neely was a three-time First Team Atlantic Sun All-Conference selection and was named to the A-Sun All-Academic Team in all three seasons. During her senior season, Neely set a single season record with 18 doubles. She completed her career with a .353 career batting average and a .951 fielding percentage between the two institutions.


Neely prepped at Goodpasture High School and helped her squad to three Tennessee Class AA State Championships.


Neely earned the John W. Burgess Award for outstanding scholar in Political Science as a senior and received her degree in Restorative Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science from Lipscomb in 2015.

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