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Ashley Chastain

Ashley Chastain

Ashley Chastain, a former Gamecock student-athlete and graduate assistant, was named the University of South Carolina’s 11th head softball coach on June 11, 2024.

Chastain returns to South Carolina after serving as head coach for the Charlotte 49ers for the last five seasons, where she led her teams to a 154-96 overall record (61.6 percent), a 65-32 conference mark (67.0 percent) and two NCAA post-season berths. Her Charlotte squads had NCAA Quad 1 wins at Florida State, at Georgia, and defeated Virginia Tech three times in three separate seasons.

In 2024, Charlotte had a 39-18 overall mark, a 21-6 record in the American Athletic Conference and the program’s first conference tournament championship, advancing to the NCAA Regionals for the second year in a row.  The 49ers reached as high as 15th in the NCAA RPI and were ranked 27th in the final RPI before the NCAA Tournament selections.

In 2023, Chastain led the Niners to 35 wins and the program’s first-ever outright regular season conference championship. The 49ers also earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Charlotte won two games at the Durham Regional and made an appearance in the regional final. The Niners had four players named First Team All-Conference USA in Ashleigh Washington, Bailey Vannoy, Sam Gress, and Kassidy Krupit, with Gress also receiving the Newcomer of the Year Award. Chastain helped coach Charlotte to three wins over ranked opponents during the 2023 season, beating #10 Georgia, #11 Virginia Tech, and #23 Arizona State, with all three wins coming on the road. The three-win total is the most for the 49ers in a single season and makes them the first women’s team at Charlotte to defeat three ranked opponents in a single season. First-year pitcher Lena Elkins threw a no-hitter against St. John’s in a 1-0 win on Feb. 17.

In 2022, Chastain led the Niners to a 35-23 record, including 24 home wins, and their first-ever national ranking in school history. The Niners made appearances in national polls including D1 Softball, Softball America, and the NFCA Coaches’ Poll. Chastain guided Charlotte to its biggest win in school history when they beat #6 Virginia Tech 5-2 on March 2. The 49ers finished 35th in RPI with a difficult non-conference slate that included victories over #22 James Madison and Big East champion Villanova. Chastain was critical in the development of Bailey Vannoy, one of the most decorated hitters in school history. Vannoy won back-to-back Conference USA Player of the Year honors and was named an NFCA Second Team All-American in 2022. This marked the first time All-American honor in Charlotte softball history.

Four total Niners collected All-Conference USA honors, while two Charlotte players threw no-hitters on the season. Madelyn Wright tossed a no-no against UConn on Feb. 18, while Amelia Wiercioch followed up with a no-hitter against FIU on May 1.

In year two, Chastain led the squad to their most successful season since 2010, finishing with a 31-19 record including 22 wins on home soil. The 49ers claimed the Conference USA East Division title for the first time in program history. Bailey Vannoy picked up where she left off in 2020, starting all 50 games and batting .387 with 23 doubles (tied for second in the nation) and 13 homers. For her efforts, Vannoy was named Conference USA Player of the Year, the first in program history. Five Niners collected All-Conference USA accolades, the most since 2006. Junior pitcher Lindsey Walljasper posted a team-best 3.07 ERA in the circle with 15 wins, going the distance in 14 contests. Walljasper pitched complete games against three ranked opponents (#6 Florida, #14 Duke, #22 James Madison), holding each to less than four earned runs.

In her first season as head coach, the Charlotte softball team ended the season above .500 with several players who garnered national recognition. The team finished 14-13 overall and 2-1 in Conference USA, gaining its first-ever series win over Florida Atlantic. Vannoy had a stellar campaign, batting .480 with 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, and a 1.093 slugging percentage, ranking first in the nation in home runs and RBIs. Freshman Madelyn Wright, who served as the designated player and pitcher, ranked 10th in the country with a 7.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while senior pitcher Carson Pace ranked ninth in the nation with three saves. Chastain’s pitching background helped bring the team ERA down by almost two runs from last year’s team ERA. She picked up her first win as a head coach after defeating Appalachian State 9-5 on Feb. 8.

Chastain served as the pitching coach at Ole Miss, Michigan State and the College of Charleston. She helped the Ole Miss Rebels to the NCAA Super Regionals and was named the 2019 Softball America Pitching Coach of the Year.

With the Rebels, she helped the team advance to the NCAA Super Regionals in 2019 with a 41-20 record, boasting a 2.29 team ERA and a .238 opponents’ batting average. The Rebels won the NCAA Oxford Regional, allowing only seven runs over five games, to advance to the Super Regionals. In 2018, Ole Miss posted a 32-25 record and advanced to the NCAA Regionals with a 2.80 team ERA.

The Rebels posted 24 shutouts over Chastain’s two seasons. In 2019, the Rebels had the fifth-lowest ERA and third-most strikeouts in the SEC. Her staff included newcomer Molly Jacobsen, a junior college transfer who earned Second Team All-SEC and Second Team NFCA All-South Region honors. In 2018, one of Chastain’s stars, Kaitlin Lee, became the second Rebel ever selected in the NPF Draft (4th round, Aussie Spirit).

Chastain was an assistant pitching coach for one season at Michigan State, helping the Spartans to a 34-24 overall record and a run to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals and the National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC). The Michigan State pitching staff lowered its team ERA by nearly a run and a half from the previous season.

Chastain was the pitching coach for three seasons at the College of Charleston and helped the Cougars to a 99-68 record during that span. In her final season with the Cougars, College of Charleston had a 35-23 record while the pitching staff posted the eighth-lowest opponent batting average (.242) in school history. She produced four All-Colonial Athletic Association players and three NFCA All-Region stars in her three years.

Chastain pitched for three seasons at South Carolina and finished 11th in career relief appearances for the Gamecocks. She led the team in starts, innings pitched, and ERA during her junior season. She was a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. She served as a graduate assistant coach for South Carolina following her playing career. In 2012-13 she served as the pitching coach for the German National Team.

A 2011 graduate of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in history, Chastain earned her master’s degree in secondary education from Carolina in 2012.