It seems that five years with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga softball team wasn't enough for Michelle Fuzzard.
The reigning Southern Conference softball player of the year and overall female athlete of the year will join coach Frank Reed's staff next season as a volunteer assistant, Reed is announcing today as part of several moves in restructuring the staff.
"It is an honor to have Coach Reed provide me with this opportunity," Fuzzard said in a prepared release. "He thinks highly of my abilities as a pitcher and hitter to continue my career here at Chattanooga. I was not ready to give up wearing 'Chattanooga' on my chest. It feels really good to be able to do that for at least another year."
Fuzzard, who just completed her playing career as the SoCon career leader in RBIs and total bases, will work some with hitters, but Reed will ask her to focus primarily on the young pitching staff.
She was an all-conference selection as both a position player and a pitcher during her playing career and posted a 47-23 pitching record with a 3.23 ERA and 319 strikeouts in 444 1/3 innings.
"She is going to be able to bring our philosophy and keep it intact," Reed said. "She understands what we are trying to accomplish with our pitching because she has been there. She knows my philosophies on how I pitch people and why I do things. She was really important in helping [pitcher] Taylor [Deason] come on as a freshman last year.
"With the two new freshmen coming in, I think she is going to do a great job there. Plus being a great hitter in her own right, she can spread out and work the hitters."
Fuzzard's addition as a volunteer assistant and the departure of assistant coach Sammi Parks allows former volunteer assistant Lindsey Ubrun to be promoted to a full-time paid position, joining associate head coach Amy Herrington-Woodard.
Ubrun, a former college standout at Missouri and Women's College World Series participant, has worked extensively with the Lady Mocs hitters for the past two seasons with amazing results. UTC has led NCAA Division I in batting average in consecutive seasons, .342 in 2011 and .347 this season.
"It is really exciting and great to continue coaching with a program, staff and school that I love," Ubrun said. "It has been a great program to be a part of. It is nice that I can stay and hopefully start working in the office and learning all the little things that are constantly being done behind the scenes."
UTC finished 39-16 in 2012 and lost to Georgia Southern and College of Charleston in the SoCon tournament. Reed and his staff will add six players for 2013 as they try to replace departing seniors Fuzzard, Vivian Morimoto and Jessica Traxler.
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...