Aug. 8, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -
Natalie Poole, who took McNeese State to the 2010 NCAA Regionals, has been recommended as the head softball coach at the University of Memphis, Athletics Director R.C. Johnson announced Wednesday.
"We are really excited to have Natalie lead our softball program," said Memphis senior women's administrator Lynn Parkes. "We feel like this is a great opportunity for an exceptional young coach. We expect outstanding things in the coming years."
In three seasons as the head coach at McNeese State, Poole, 35, guided the Cowgirls to three-straight 30-win seasons, including a school-record 38 wins in 2010. She guided the Cowgirl program to two Southland Conference (SLC) Tournament championship games, winning the tournament title in 2010 and advancing to the NCAA Regional Tournament.
A former standout catcher for McNeese State as a player, Poole compiled a 100-84 overall record during the three years and went 55-35 in conference play.
Poole was named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year in her first season at McNeese State in 2009 after leading the Cowgirls to a second-place finish in the Southland Conference. The team finished the year with a 31-28 record, marking the Cowgirls' first winning season in 11 years.
During her three years with McNeese State, 20 players earned All-Southland Conference honors. In 2011, outfielder Claire Terracina became the first Cowgirl since 2008 selected to the All-SLC first team. In addition, Alanna DiVittorio was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Co-Freshman of the Year in 2011.
Poole led McNeese State to a 31-29 record in 2011 and a third-place finish at the Southland Conference Tournament. Seven players were named to both the All-SLC and the All-Louisiana teams.
Prior to returning to her alma mater, Poole served as the head coach for seven seasons at Georgia Southern, where she compiled a 212-215 career record. The Eagles went 71-53 in the Southern Conference under Poole's tutelage and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2006. She was named the SoCon Coach of the Year in 2002, her first year as a head coach.
During her time at Georgia Southern, the Eagles had just one losing conference season and finished outside the top-four only once. The program set more than 15 single-season records, and four of the top six all-time home run seasons came under Poole's tenure.
She coached the 2006 and 2008 SoCon Players of the Year and three SoCon Freshmen of the Year. During her time with Georgia Southern, 17 players earned All-SoCon honors, including a school-record eight in 2008.
In 2006, Poole led Georgia Southern to the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the SoCon Tournament with six-straight victories. The SoCon title was just the second in school history.
The Eagles nearly repeated as SoCon champions in 2007, falling in the conference tournament championship game.
Poole began her collegiate coaching career at McNeese State. She joined the Cowgirl staff as a graduate assistant in 1998 and served as an assistant coach from 1999-2001.
As a college athlete, Poole was a standout catcher for McNeese State from 1994-97. She was a three-time All-Southland Conference pick (1995-97) and a two-time All-South Region selection (1996-97). Poole also earned All-Louisiana honors in 1996.
As a freshman, she helped the Cowgirls to a Southland Conference title and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance. Poole was named McNeese State's Most Valuable Player her senior year and concluded her playing career with a .296 batting average.
In the classroom, Poole was a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District VI selection (1995-97) and was a 1997 Academic All-American. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in painting from McNeese State in 1998 and earned her master's degree in instructional technology from the school in 2000.
A native of Baton Rouge, La., Poole has one daughter, Isabella Grace.