May 12, 2010
Stephanie VanBrakle Named Head Softball Coach
Samford University has hired former Alabama All-American Stephanie VanBrakle as its new head softball coach, Director of Athletics Bob Roller announced on Monday.
VanBrakle comes to Samford after spending the last two seasons as the head coach at Birmingham-Southern College. She posted a record of 57-14 in her two seasons with the Panthers, for an impressive .803 winning percentage.
"Stephanie has taken her national reputation as one of the finest intercollegiate softball players in NCAA history and has now brought that winning attitude to her head coaching abilities," Roller said. "She is a winner - plain and simple - and will bring that philosophy to our softball program. We are all truly excited to watch Samford softball grow under Stephanie's leadership."
In her first season as a head coach in 2009, VanBrakle led the Panthers to a remarkable 32-5 record. The team broke 13 program records, including the mark for number of wins. Her first team posted a .364 team batting average and 1.19 ERA. In 2010, VanBrakle's team finished with a record of 25-9 overall and 12-4 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
"I would like to thank Bob Roller for giving me the opportunity to be the next head coach for Samford softball," VanBrakle said. "I am extremely excited to be the next head coach and to wear the Samford Blue."
Prior to becoming head coach at Birmingham-Southern in 2009, VanBrakle spent the 2008 season as an assistant coach on the BSC staff. That season, VanBrakle helped lead the Panthers to a 32-28 record for the first 30-win season in program history. She also helped coach four All-Big South Conference players and two CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees.
She played professionally for the Philadelphia Force prior to being hired at Birmingham-Southern. She also served as a student assistant coach at her alma mater, the University of Alabama.
VanBrakle had a stellar career as a softball player at Alabama from 2003 to 2006, helping the Crimson Tide to its first Southeastern Conference regular-season title in 2006 and the SEC Tournament championship in 2003 and 2005. She earned SEC Tournament MVP honors in 2005.
She helped her team to Regional and Super Regional appearances during all four of her years at Alabama, as well as to three NCAA College World Series appearances (2003, 2005, 2006).
VanBrakle, a native of Chambersburg, Pa., was named NFCA Second-Team All-American in 2005 and 2006. She was named SEC Pitcher of the Year and was a Top 10 Finalist for Collegiate Player of the Year as a senior in 2006. She was also named to the SEC Honor Roll and the Academic All-SEC Team all four of her years at Alabama.
She was named Region VIII Tournament MVP in 2003, NFCA All-South Region in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and NFCA All-American in 2005 and 2006. She also earned All-Conference honors each of her four years at Alabama, and was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2003.
VanBrakle earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from Alabama in May 2007.