published Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Caitlin DeLoach is new Cleveland softball coach

Cleveland High School has hired Caitlin DeLoach to take over as head coach of its softball program.

DeLoach is a 2012 graduate of Lee University, where she was a pitcher on some nationally ranked NAIA teams. She was an NAIA Champion of Character award recipient, a Southern States Athletic Conference scholar-athlete and an Academic All-American.

A 2008 graduate of Hazel Green High School in Alabama, where she was chosen all-district for three years and was an academic all-state selection and team most valuable player, DeLoach had the goal of one day becoming a high school head coach.

"It came around sooner than expected," she said, "but I'm ready for the challenge."

DeLoach was the Lady Raiders' pitching coach last year and the last part of the previous season. She and her husband, Brian, are English teachers at Cleveland.

"We are thrilled that Caitlin has decided to take over our softball program," Cleveland athletic director Eric Phillips said in a school release. "I have watched her in the classroom and know we are getting a quality teacher-coach for our program. She brings to the table a shared mission and vision for athletics, and we couldn't be more excited."

Cleveland Middle School softball coach Kari Jo Harris, a teammate of DeLoach's at Lee, will serve as assistant coach. In return, DeLoach said she plans to work with the pitchers at the middle school level.

"In the past I think there's been a bit of a disconnect with the high school and middle school programs," DeLoach said. "We're going to make this a sixth-through-12th-grade program versus a ninth-through-12th."

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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