SCOOBA — Having enjoyed success as a player and assistant coach at the NCAA Division II, NAIA and NJCAA levels, Whitney Hawkins has returned to the Scooba campus to take over the head softball coaching duties at East Mississippi Community College. The hiring announcement was made Friday by EMCC Director of Athletics/Head Women's Basketball Coach Sharon Thompson.
Hawkins, who previously served as an assistant softball coach for EMCC's 2018 team, spent this past season as assistant coach/pitching coach at the University of Montevallo, an Alabama-based NCAA Division II program affiliated with the Gulf South Conference. She served as UM's interim head coach for the final month of the 2021 season, as the Falcons claimed the program's first-ever postseason tournament win.
"I am very excited to return to the EMCC family as the next head softball coach. Scooba is such a special place, and I am so grateful to be back," Hawkins said. "I want to thank (EMCC President) Dr. Scott Alsobrooks and (EMCC Director of Athletics) Coach Sharon Thompson for allowing me the opportunity to build EMCC's softball program into a championship contender. The MACCC is a very competitive conference, and I look forward to the opportunity to coach some of the best student-athletes in the country."
Prior to this past season and following her previous EMCC coaching stint, Hawkins helped guide Lindsey Wilson College to the 2019 NAIA World Series in Springfield, Mo. As assistant coach, she served an integral role in helping direct the 52-5 Blue Raiders to the regular-season and postseason tournament championships of the Mid-South Conference. In addition, three Lindsey Wilson players earned NAIA Softball All-American honors in 2019. Hawkins was then promoted to associate head coach at LWC in advance of the pandemic-shortened 2020 college softball season.
During her previous one-year stay as an assistant coach at EMCC, Hawkins served as the pitching coach for a Lions team that went 17-26 overall and 13-15 in conference play under the direction of former head coach Kyndall White. The 2018 EMCC squad featured freshman all-conference players Mollie Singleterry and Bryley Rodriguez.
"We are very excited to have Whitney back with our EMCC family. She is a great addition to our athletics program, and we look forward to her leading our softball program to the next level on and off the field," EMCC Director of Athletics/Head Women's Basketball Coach Sharon Thompson said. "Whitney brings with her a familiarity with the junior college system and our conference, and we're proud to give this coaching opportunity to a young and promising head coach."
Prior to making her initial move to Scooba, Hawkins spent the previous three seasons (2015-17) as an assistant coach mentoring several All-Gulf South Conference and All-South Region pitchers at the University of North Alabama. With a three-year composite record of 130-41, the UNA Lions won the 2016 NCAA Division II national championship with a 60-7 overall record. Hawkins and UNA head coach Ashley Cozart were named the 2016 NFCA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year.
Hawkins began her college coaching career with a three-year stint (2012-14) as a student assistant at her alma mater after twice being named All-Gulf South Conference First Team and All-South Region Second Team as a player at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The UAH Chargers were a combined 133-45 during the three seasons that she worked primarily with the team's pitching staff.
As a player for UAH, Hawkins posted a two-year pitching record of 41-6 with a 1.28 career earned run average in addition to totaling 206 strikeouts and only 28 walks in just over 300 career innings pitched. She also batted .323 with 11 home runs in 84 career games played. During her junior campaign, Hawkins was 21-1 with a 1.01 ERA in the circle, while also batting .333 with six homers, to help lead the 54-6 Chargers to the 2009 NCAA Division II national championship game as an all-tournament selection after being named the South Regional's Most Outstanding Player.
Originally from Athens, Ala., Hawkins began her collegiate playing career at Wallace Community College in Dothan. Along with putting together a two-year pitching record of 35-11, she batted .432 with 12 career home runs during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
A three-time Alabama Class 5A all-state selection at Athens High School, Hawkins totaled 75 career wins as a pitcher and collected 29 career home runs and 170 runs batted in. As a dual-position standout for the Golden Eagles, she also saw action at first base and third base.
Hawkins earned her bachelor's degree in English from UAH with a minor in mathematics.
BY David Rosinski | Sports Information Director
East Mississippi Community College