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Lee University

Lee University Flames Athletics
PO Box 3450 - 1120 North Ocoee Street Cleveland, TN 37320
Division 2 Tennessee Southeast
Private Medium Competitive team

Coaches

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Emily Russell

Coach Russell enters her 19th year as head softball coach and her tenure ranks second on the Lee athletic coaching staff. She has proven to be a winner, just like she was as a record-setting pitcher for the Lee University Lady Flames 22 seasons ago. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Lee University, as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching from Lee.


Russell's Lady Flames have earned 20 or more wins in 17 of her 18 seasons of leadership. The 2020 season suddenly came to an end when the NCAA ordered play halted due to the Covid19 virus. The season closed with the Lady Flames holding a 13-10 overall mark and standing 4-5 in the Gulf South Conference standing.


Coach Russell has directed her teams to six seasons of 40 or more wins, two of those with more than 50 wins. Overall, Russell has amassed a record of 643-323-1.


In 2019 her Lady Flames were forced to battle an unusual number of injuries to key players and finished at 22-31 overall and 10-19 in Gulf South Conference play. During the 2018 year her club posted a 28-28 mark.


In 2017, Russell's club ended with a 36-20 mark and advanced all the way to the NCAA South Super Regional before falling to No. 5 and fellow Gulf South Conference member West Florida. It was the first trip to the NCAA Championship stage in program history. The Lady Flames ended the record-setting season ranked No. 15 in the final NFCA Top 25 poll, marking their first ever NCAA ranking. Lee won the South Region 2 Bracket with three straight victories over GSC rivals. The Lady Flames defeated Alabama Huntsville (7-4) and defending national champion North Alabama twice (4-2, 3-2) to advance on as one of the final 16 teams in the NCAA D2 National Tournament.


In 2015 the Lady Flames finished 36-19 and 18-11 in the Gulf South Conference. Lee won the NCCAA Mid-East Region Tournament and finished third at the NCCAA World Series. For the third straight year Russell coached the national player of the year as Kaylie Drew won the honor (NCCAA) after smashing 18 home runs for the Lady Flames.


Russell led the Lady Flames into NCAA Division II and the Gulf South Conference in 2014. Lee finished with a record of 25-24 and had a conference mark of 13-14. Russell coached the NCCAA Player of the Year in Ana Coscorrosa. The power hitting Venezuelan set school career marks in batting average (.451), RBI (231) and hits (275).


In 2010, Russell's Lady Flames earned a 57-5 record, finishing as the Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) regular season and tournament champions, on their way to a No. 2 NAIA National Ranking.


That same year, the Lee ladies also competed in the NAIA National Tournament for the first time since 2007, their sixth trip overall. For their outstanding season, Coach Russell was named the SSAC Coach of the Year.


Russell directed the Lady Flames to the SSAC regular season and tournament crowns in 2006, finishing the season with a sparkling record of 55-14. The 2005 Lady Flames finished second in the SSAC regular season, third in the SSAC tournament, and fourth in the NAIA Region XIII Tournament.


In 2004, Coach Russell led her team to the school's first TranSouth Tournament Championship, an NAIA Region XI championship, and the program's third trip to the NAIA National Tournament. For their success, Russell and her staff were named the 2004 NAIA-Softball Coaches Association's Coaching Staff of the Year.


While pitching at Lee, Russell hurled an amazing 305 innings during the 2000 season. She struck out 194 hitters in those 305 innings, at that time a school record. After her playing days for the Lady Flames, she traveled to Europe and pitched professionally for two summers.


The Lee coach makes her home in Cleveland and is married to Sean Russell. The couple has two sons, Tyson, and Carson.


RUSSELL SEASON-BY-SEASON


Year


School


Record


2003


Lee University


37-17


NAIA Region Tournament


2004


Lee University


33-27


NAIA National Tournament


2005


Lee University


41-14


NAIA Region Tournament


2006


Lee University


55-14


NAIA National Tournament


2007


Lee University


43-16


NAIA National Tournament


2008


Lee University


32-22


NAIA Region Tournament


2009


Lee University


39-14


2010


Lee University


57-5


NAIA National Tournament


2011


Lee University


26-16


2012


Lee University


48-11


NAIA National Tournament


2013


Lee University


47-11


NAIA National Tournament


2014


Lee University


25-24


2015


Lee University


36-19


NCCAA World Series


2016


Lee University


25-24-1


2017


Lee University


36-20


NCAA Super Regional


2018


Lee University


28-28


2019

Lee University

22-31


2020

Lee University

13-10


Total 643-323-1

At Lee 643-323-1

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Murphy Davis

Lee women’s softball Head Coach Emily Russell is pleased to announce Murphy Davis as a new assistant coach to her staff.


The veteran coach quickly pointed out that Davis will be a great addition to her staff. “She has a ton of experience at the Division II level at two great programs. She is an outstanding instructor and has really jumped in to make an impact with the team in early workouts.”


A graduate from (Atlanta area) Lassiter High School where she was defensive player of the year as a junior and senior. Davis signed scholarship papers with Young Harris College where she played for the Mountain Lions for four years as an infielder. She was a 2019 graduate assistant at the University of Alabama Huntsville.


“I am grateful for the opportunity that Lee has given me. I especially want to thank Coach Russell and (Athletic Director) Coach Larry Carpenter for putting their trust in me,” said Coach Davis. “We have a great group of young women and I cannot wait to see them succeed on and off the field. I’m excited to get to work and help this team any way that I can.”


At Young Harris Davis was named to the Peach Belt Conference All-Academic Team after her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. She was selected to the All-Peach Belt Conference second team as a sophomore. She batted .311 batting average with a .388 on base percentage and a .418 slugging percentage as a senior. Davis tied a career high with five RBI against Georgia Southwestern and had 11 multi-hit games. She blasted three home runs, posted 10 doubles, had 55 hits, collected 31 RBI, and scored 31 times.


She was a mainstay for the Young Harris club during her four-year career, playing in 214 games, scoring 110 runs, and knocking in 113 runs. Davis had 27 doubles totaled over her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

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Ashley Sermons

Coach Sermons enters his third year as assistant softball coach under head coach Emily Russell and his 14th-year overall coaching softball between travel ball, middle school, high school, and college.


Originally from Alma, Georgia, Sermons was a four-year utility player on the Lee University baseball team from 1999-2002. In 2001 in the conference tournament he pitched the Flames to a victory over Berry College which landed the Flames in the Region tournament for the first time in program history. One of his best outings at Lee came in 2000 when he came on in relief and shutout the University of Kentucky at Kentucky who was nationally ranked at the time. He was also the recipient of the 2002 “Hustle Award” for Lee baseball for his hard work, dedication, attitude, and commitment to the team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Lee University.


Outside of baseball, Sermons played several years of travel adult men’s softball where his team from Georgia won the 2003 ISA National Championship and he was named to the “All Tournament Team”. He was a seven-time MVP award winner and three-time “Gold Glove” award winner over the years of traveling and playing softball all over the country. He stopped playing competitively after the birth of his first child.


“Coach Ser” has primarily worked with the outfielders the past few years and is willing and able to help in any area that he is asked to help and assist in. He lives in Old Fort, Tennessee and is married to Kristen. The couple has two daughters, Riley Jo, and Gracie Belle.

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Erika Mast

Erika Mast begins her first year as a Graduate Assistant Coach in 2020-21 under head coach Emily Russell.


Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Mast was a four-year outfielder at Covenant College from 2016-2020. Mast played in 127 career games, making 123 starts throughout her career. At the plate, Mast held a .317 career batting average, including a personal and team best .345 batting average her junior year. Mast also served as team captain for her last three years at Covenant.


Off the field, she was a four-year USA South All-Academic honoree and served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for three years


Mast received her bachelor's degree in Sport Administration from Covenant in May of 2020. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in Business Administration at Lee.

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