GREENSBORO, N.C. –Sarah Dawson and Brittany McKinney have been named assistant coaches for the UNCG softball program, according to an announcement Wednesday by head coach Janelle Breneman.
Dawson spent the past 10 seasons as the head coach of the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters in the highly competitive Western Athletic Conference. Last season, she led LA Tech to its seventh-straight WAC Tournament appearance becoming the third school to qualify for every tournament since 1996 joining Hawaii and Fresno State. In her 10 years at LA Tech she amassed a record of 240-338.
"I am delighted to welcome Sarah to UNCG coaching staff," said Breneman. "Sarah's extensive experience and pitching knowledge will be a great asset to our team. I have high expectations for this Spartan softball program and I believe Sarah's knowledge of the game and her past success will assist us in reaching our goals."
"I would like to thank Kim Record, Jody Smith and Janelle Breneman for the opportunity to coach at UNC Greensboro," said Dawson. "It is obvious how much pride the administration takes in each of their programs. The support and the facilities we have to work with make UNCG a standout in the SoCon. I am excited about this new staff and believe in the student athletes in our program. I know we will be a contender for a top spot in conference."
Twenty-eight of her players have earned all-Western Athletic Conference honors, including at least one every year and a program-record five in 2009. Former shortstop Amberly Waits became the first LA Tech player to ever earn the WAC Player of the Year award as she was an easy selection in 2009 after winning the WAC Triple Crown (led league in average, home runs and RBI).
Dawson has also had 36 of her players named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association all-state team, including Waits who was named the 2009 Hitter of the Year, outfielder Emma Barnes was named the state Freshman of the Year in 2006 and utility Melanie Goff was named the Newcomer of the Year in 2012.
Dawson also emphasizes education, and it has paid off during her tenure at Louisiana Tech. During the previous 10 years at Tech, a total of 43 of LA Tech's student-athletes have earned a total of 90 Academic All-Western Athletic Conference honors, ranking among the most in the league during that time.
Prior to coming to Louisiana Tech in 2003, Dawson served as an assistant coach at UL-Monroe from 2000 through 2002 and at Marshall University in 1999.
Dawson was also a standout in the circle, compiling a record of 120-56 while registering 151 complete games, 1,242.1 innings pitched, 1,280 strikeouts and 74 career shutouts. Her complete games, innings pitched, strikeouts and career shutouts all ranked in the top 10 in NCAA Division I history while her 120 career wins ranked sixth. She still holds the school record for career victories, lowest earned run average (0.69), inning pitched, strikeouts, shutouts, games pitched, games started and complete games.
"I am glad to have an established and experienced pitching coach for our Spartan pitchers, I look forward to seeing them further develop under Dawson's supervision."
Dawson continued to be successful after her collegiate career, joining the Women's Professional Fast-pitch League in the summer of 1997, where she earned the first year league's inaugural Most Valuable Player award, ranking No. 1 in wins (30) and saves (4) and second in shutouts, complete games, earned run average and opponent's batting average.
Dawson earned her bachelor's degree in finance from UL-Monroe in 1998.
McKinney comes to UNCG following a one-year stint with NC State as an assistant.
"I am thrilled to add a familiar face to our coaching staff in Brittany McKinney," said Breneman. "Having the opportunity to coach Brittany for three years I witnessed her ability to lead and her competitive passion for the game of softball. McKinney's experience as a catcher and playing at the professional level will be a great addition to the team. It will be a pleasure to have her here with me to further develop our program."
In between coaching, McKinney is currently playing her second season for the Carolina Diamonds of the National Pro Fastpitch softball league. In 2011, McKinney posted solid numbers, leading the squad in batting average (.298) and RBI (11) as a rookie. In addition, she was one of two members of the team to be named to the NPF all-star squad.
"I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with Coach Breneman and become a part of the Spartan family," said McKinney. "I am eager to begin this season and help propel UNCG to the top of the Southern Conference."
Prior to her professional career, McKinney notched a successful college career at North Carolina, starting all four years at catcher and in the DH slot for the Tar Heels. As a sophomore in 2009, she earned second team All-ACC honors after earning a .305 batting average and throwing out 19 of 27 base stealers from behind the plate.
McKinney excelled in the classroom as well, earning a degree in communications and a minor in coaching in the spring of 2011. She was named to the All-ACC Softball Academic Team three times, and earned Dean's List recognition four semesters throughout her career. As a senior, McKinney received the prestigious UNC Athletic Director's scholar athlete award.
- UNCG -