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Chastain Finalizes Softball Coaching Staff
Softball  . 

Chastain Finalizes Softball Coaching Staff

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina’s head softball coach Ashley Chastain has finalized her staff. Katie Rietkovich Browder joins as associate head coach, while Jody Davidson and C.J. Leighton come aboard as assistant coaches. Sidney Kane will assume the role of director of operations. Each new member of the staff previously worked with Chastain at Charlotte.

All three coaches have spent multiple years working at SEC programs, making numerous NCAA Regional and Super Regional appearances.

“I am thrilled to hire a staff of amazing coaches and people,” Chastain said. I have a ton of belief in their ability to recruit the best players nationally and give those players a second to none connection and player development plan during their career as a Gamecock. My staff is loyal and trustworthy and our values align cohesively with prior experience working together building championship teams. I am honored to welcome Katie, Jody, C.J. and Sidney to Columbia and work alongside them to elevate this program to the top of the SEC.”

Katie Browder

Browder has spent the last 10 years in the college coaching and has SEC ties throughout her career.  She spent the 2024 season on Chastain’s staff at Charlotte, while also making stops at Ole Miss (2016-18, 2021-23), Minnesota (2019-20), and Savannah State (2015). She played at Georgia from 2010-11, where she was a part of its run to a third-place finish at the 2010 Women’s College World Series.

Last season she guided Charlotte first baseman Arianna Rodi to NFCA All-Region First Team honors. Rodi was named the top first baseman in the country and tabbed a First Team All-American by Softball America. At Minnesota, she helped the Gophers during their run to the 2019 Women’s College World Series. She developed All-American Natalie DenHartog, a top-three finalist for 2019 NFCA Freshman of the Year.

Browder’s South Carolina roots run deep, as her father and sister have also donned the garnet and black. Ty Rietkovich played tight end for the Gamecocks from 1980-83 and worked on the football staff from 1984-86. Her sister Caroline (Rietkovich) Coleman was a cheerleader and is currently on Shane Beamer’s staff as the coordinator of football operations.

Chastain on Browder: “Katie will lead our offense and infield and have a heavy hand in recruiting. Katie is so knowledgeable in her craft and a life learner bringing the best knowledge in the game to our players each day. She will raise our tide daily and has a deep love for the Garnet and Black. She has long time Carolina ties and I know how much this place means to her and her whole family.”

Browder’s Full Bio

Jody Davidson

Davidson spent five years on staff as Charlotte, three as an assistant coach and two years as a volunteer assistant coach. His coaching was key in Bailey Vannoy being named a two-time Conference USA Player of the Year and an NFCA Second Team All-American.

He is no stranger to SEC as Davidson was the director of softball operations at Ole Miss for four years (2016-19) and a manager for two years (2014-15). He was with the Rebels for a pair of NCAA Super Regionals (2017 and 2019) and their 2017 SEC Tournament Championship.

Chastain on Davidson: “Jody has previous SEC experience and brings a wealth of skill and knowledge to our staff. He will be our recruiting coordinator and work tirelessly to bring the best players and their families to Columbia. In the daily operations of the program, Jody’s primary focus will be on our outfield and catching.”

Davidson’s Full Bio

C.J. Leighton

Leighton spent the last two seasons on Chastain’s staff at Charlotte, spending the 2024 season as the assistant pitching coach and the 2023 season as a volunteer assistant.

Leighton also has SEC ties as he joined the 49ers from the University of Kentucky where he spent four undergraduate years as a team manager and one year as a graduate assistant for the Wildcats. In his time at Kentucky, the team made four NCAA Tournaments and three Super Regional appearances.

Chastain on Leighton: “C.J. has tremendous experience in the SEC from being at Kentucky with coach Lawson for many seasons. We have been in the Charlotte dugout together the last two seasons, side by side, leading the pitching staff through a lot of success. I have a lot of trust and faith in his ability to communicate effectively and build great relationships with our pitching staff. I am excited to see him continue to thrive as a young pitching coach and grow in this profession.”

Leighton’s Full Bio

Sidney Kane

Kane spent one season at Charlotte as its director of softball operations. She joined Chastain’s staff after a stint at Florida State as a director of softball operations intern.

She graduated from Troy University in 2022 and gained extensive experience within the athletic department, contributing to various roles involving football, compliance, and sports marketing.

Chastain on Kane: “Sidney is a rockstar support system for our program. She is fully invested in our success and is willing to do whatever it takes to assist in the operation of the program running smoothly. She is an extremely valuable asset for our players and our staff. She is a go-getter personality with infectious, positive energy that uplifts everyone around her. Sidney will wear the Garnet and Black with pride and I can’t wait for her to get started with the Gamecocks.”

Kane’s Full Bio

For the latest on South Carolina Softball, visit or follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter @GamecockSoftbll, Facebook /GamecockSoftball, and Instagram @GamecockSoftball.