Softball leader starting a new chapter

Ashley McClain, FIU’s softball all-time leader in almost every statistical category, is now stepping out of the batters box and using her knowledge to help other young ladies achieve their goals.

McClain helped lead the Panthers to a winning record each of her four years at FIU. Now McClain is using what she has learned on the field to teach other players as an assistant coach at Murray State University, some players who are just one to two years younger than McClain.

McClain racked up numerous accolades during her time at FIU, such as being named the second player in the program’s history to be named to the All-Sun Belt first-team on three occasions.

McClain is also the Panthers’ first-ever Sun Belt Player of the Year and the first FIU player to earn three National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region honors.

“It was definitely a learning experience because I transitioned so quick from being a player to a coach,” McClain said. “I’ve gotten great feedback from the girls telling me they’ve really enjoyed how I coach them.”

As a Racer, McClain will work with their pitchers and assist with hitting. Areas the young athlete has had much success in during her softball career.

“It’s been a blessing having Ashley on staff this past year,” said Head Coach Kara Amundson. “Her ability to connect with our pitching staff was pertinent for the success of our program and she did an incredible job not only building a connection with them, but also helping them grow as players and people.”

During her senior year at Riverview Tampa High School, McClain recorded an ERA of 0.90. At FIU, McClain ended her career and is currently the all-time leader in batting average, total bases, RBI, homeruns and doubles.

McClain is no stranger to the stress that comes with being associated to a team at the college level. Having been in the limelight most of her time at FIU, McClain knows first hand what players may go through and how to overcome it.

“Once you break that one record, once you show how good you can do, there’s always going to be pressure to follow up that next year to do the same,” McClain said. “I had great support from my teammates’ who just kept making me feel like I was just another player out there playing.”

While at FIU, McClain expressed to former head coach Beth Torina her goal of being a graduate assistant; though leaving the game of softball wasn’t something that would come easy.

Torina, who would later accept a head coaching position at Louisiana State University, helped McClain find a way to continue being a part of softball, and introduced her to the staff over at Murray State. A move that has since been a plus to the Racer players.

“She has a very positive approach to coaching and a vibrant personality.” Amundson said. “I am really looking forward to her coming back this year and starting up right where we left off.”

Coaching wasn’t McClain’s first choice after graduation. The love of softball still filled her lungs once her time as a Panther came to an end.

Unfortunately, McClain’s plans to go on and play National pro Fastpitch, the women’s professional softball league, did not pan out the way she had hoped. So she came to the realization to put down the helmet, put on the coaches hat and begin anew at Murray State.

McClain hasn’t completely hung up her cleats though. Whether or not McClain will stay coaching or try again on the field is still yet to be seen.

“I definitely enjoy softball and it’s going to be hard for me to give it up,” McClain said. “You’re definitely going to see softball somewhere. If I’m playing on a small pitch league or if I’m dealing with the university.”


About the Author

Patrick Chalvire
: Radio Host for Panther Sports Talk Live. Assistant Sports Director for The Beacon. Majoring in Communication Arts. Sports fan and aspiring anchor.

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