OXFORD, Ohio – After successful playing careers at Miami University, a pair of RedHawk softball alumnae are ready to embark on their own coaching careers after recently being hired for assistant positions. Jessica Simpson (’12) will be a pitching/assistant coach at Akron, while Shannon Tillett (’13) will be a graduate assistant at New Mexico Highlands University.
Simpson finished a highly decorated four-year career for the RedHawks holding nearly every pitching record in the Miami record books. She also owns Mid-American Conference career records for wins (101) and shutouts (45). She helped lead the Red and White to two MAC Tournament Championships (2009 and 2012) and was a two-time recipient of the MAC Pitcher of the Year award (2011 and 2012). It all culminated during her senior season in 2012 when Simpson led the RedHawks with a 32-15 record and a 1.06 ERA. The 32 wins, along with her 358 strikeouts, were both single-season school records. After winning MAC Tournament MVP and leading Miami to the NCAA Tournament, she held fifth-ranked Tennessee scoreless in a 1-0 NCAA Regional win.
Tillett played in 59 career games, recording three home runs and 17 RBI. Her playing career was cut short after her sophomore campaign due to injuries, but she continued to support the team in a coach-type capacity.
While Miami head coach Clarisa Crowell, who came to the RedHawks in 2013, did not get an opportunity to coach Simpson, she did coach Tillett and believes she is prepared for the next step.
“I am very excited that Shannon has decided to accept the graduate assistant position at New Mexico Highlands University,” said Crowell. “There are so many athletes that dream to be in the coaching profession, and Shannon is going to have the opportunity to live that dream. Unfortunately she was not able to play this year because of a career-ending injury, but I believe that experience has helped prepare her to be a coach. Shannon was able to see and learn the game from a ‘coach's perspective’ as opposed to a ‘player's perspective.’ I know she will be a great asset for Coach Karin Gadberry's staff. We wish both her and Jessica all the best!"