Tiger Coaches Ready for Exciting Season
Jan. 27, 2010
Coaching staffs and how the personalities within them work are a key dynamic to any athletic squad. For Memphis Softball, head coach Windy Thees and assistant coaches Ashley Blanton and Killian Roessner always strive to do what’s best for their players and the program.
In 2005, Thees was hired as the first Softball coach at Memphis and was left the enormous task of building the program from scratch. In only four seasons, Thees has successfully established the Memphis brand as one that is a force to be reckoned with. With six starters, two pitchers, and 12 letterwinners returning, Thees looks for Tiger Softball to reach new heights in 2010.
In four seasons at Memphis, Thees has compiled a 111-111 (.500) overall record and guided the team to the Conference USA Championship Tournament the past three seasons. Last year, the Tigers finished ninth in C-USA with a 22-30 overall record and 7-17 in league play. Memphis showed signs of its potential when it swept a three game series with reigning league champion, Houston.
Prior to becoming the head coach of the Tigers, Thees spent five seasons at Georgia College & State University, where she put together a record of 163-92. Thees led the program to a 2003 NCAA Division II National Runner-Up showing and was named the 2003 Georgia Collegiate Coach of the Year. She was also named the 2003 Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year and the 2003 South Atlantic Region Coach of the Year.
Before getting into coaching, Thees was a standout on the field at Florida State University, where she played catcher and second base for the Seminoles from 1993-1997. Thees was a two time All-ACC Tournament Team selection and was voted as Florida State’s most inspiration player four times. She was also selected as the team captain during her senior season.
Blanton enters her fourth season as an assistant softball coach for the University of Memphis. After playing under Thees at Georgia College and State University, Blanton joined the staff at Memphis in 2007 and works closely with the infield and hitters.
“Ashley is one of the most complete players I have ever coached,” Thees said. “She is a very driven and competitive person who matches what we hope to accomplish here at Memphis.”
Blanton’s hard work with the infield really started to show last season, when the Tigers set a new season record with 21 double plays turned. Blanton has also helped improve offensive production, as the Tigers set a new record for home runs in 2008 with 48, which was the third highest total in Conference USA. Before coming to Memphis, Blanton was a graduate assistant coach at UT-Martin and an assistant at Mars Hills College in 2005.
Roessner, a former standout All-America catcher at LSU, enters her second season as and assistant with the University of Memphis Softball program. Since Roessner caught some of the top pitchers in Softball at LSU, she works closely with the pitchers and catchers at Memphis.
“We’re really excited to have Killian with our program,” said Thees. “She brings that youthful excitement that you have when you finish college and are ready to coach. It’s something that she’s always wanted to do.”
Roessner was a four-year starter at LSU and finished her career with a .288 batting average, 21 home runs, 109 RBI, and 64 runs scored. She started 214 of 236 games and still holds the records at LSU for most runners caught stealing and lowest stolen base percentage against. She was named a 2007 NFCA First-Team All-American as a junior after hitting .354 with six home runs and 23 runs scored. She was also named the 2007 Diamond Sports National Catcher of the Year.
In her final season at LSU, Roessner hit 10 home runs, including two walk-offs against Auburn and Pacific. She was named a preseason ESPN first-team All-American and was a member of the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List going into the 2008 season.