When Mike Smith was named the fifth head coach of the Ole Miss softball program on May 29, 2014, he brought with him a wealth of experience across all levels of collegiate softball and a desire to make the Rebels a competitive program immediately.
Smith came up aces in his first season at the helm of the program, tying the school record for wins in a season and putting an offense on the field that rewrote the record books. The Rebels set every offensive record for a season, including batting average, runs scored, RBI, home runs, triples, walks, steals and both on base percentage and slugging percentage. Ole Miss also tied the school record for doubles in his first season.
Under his direction in year one, the Rebels advanced to the SEC Tournament for only the fourth time in school history and the first time since the 2008 season. The 30-wins tied the mark for wins in a year set in 2005 and gave Smith a winning record in his first year. Ole Miss also doubled its win total in Southeastern Conference play, tallying six wins which equaled the total number of conference wins in the previous two seasons combined.
Assistant Coach/Pitching Coach
Ashley Chastain joined the Ole Miss Softball staff in November 2017 as the Rebels’ assistant coach and pitching coach. She came to Oxford after serving in a similar role at Michigan State.
Chastain, a finalist for the Rising Star Award from One Dream Zero Distraction, is no stranger to the Southeastern Conference. The Palmetto, Georgia native pitched for three seasons at South Carolina, finishing 11th in career relief appearances for the Gamecocks. Following her playing career, she joined the South Carolina coaching staff as a graduate assistant coach.
Chastain joined the Michigan State staff prior to the start of the 2017 season, helping the Spartans to a 34-24 overall record and a run to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. Upon her arrival in East Lansing, Chastain made an immediate impact on the Michigan State pitching staff as the Spartans lowered their team ERA by nearly a run and a half from the previous season.
Ruben Felix, a former Major League Baseball coach, joined the Ole Miss Softball Staff as the Rebels Volunteer Coach/Camp Coordinator for the 2015 season after four seasons as the top softball assistant coach & recruiting coordinator at the University of Central Florida. In two of the last three seasons at UCF Felix helped the Knights advance to the NCAA tournament.
In his first season with the Rebels, Felix helped guide the Rebels to a record-setting season offensively as Ole Miss set the mark in every offensive category. Felix also helped guide the Rebels to the program’s fourth SEC Tournament appearance in school history and tied the single-season mark for wins.
While at UCF, Felix coached hitters, infielders, catchers and was the first base coach for the Knights. In 2014 Felix helped UCF to a 43-18 overall record and their first ever American Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship in program history. The 2014 UCF staff was named Coaching Staff of the Year. UCF had three NFCA All-Region selections, a record 15 Academic All-Conference honorees, one Burnett Honors College Scholarship Athlete, five All-Conference players and the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Farrah Sullivan. As a team UCF won the conference hitting title with a .322 average and pitching title with an era of 1.89, and finished second with a fielding% of 968. Nationally UCF finished in the top 10 as a team in pitching with an era of 1.80, 482 strikeouts and 2nd in stolen bases with 132. In the four seasons at UCF Felix has coached 17 All-Conference players, six NFCA All-Region selections, one Scholar Athlete of the Year in CUSA, one CUSA Conference Pitcher of the Year, one CUSA Conference Player of the Year, one CUSA Newcomer of the Year, one Team USA Women’s Baseball National Team Selection, 13 All American Scholar Athletes and finished in the top 20 in team GPA in NCAA in 2012.
Volunteer Assistant Coach/Camps Coordinator
Caty Reeves is entering her first season as the Rebels’ volunteer assistant coach, bringing a wealth of coaching experience to Oxford.
Reeves’ relationship with head coach Mike Smith dates back a decade to Reeves playing days under Smith at California Baptist from 2008-11. The Corvallis, Oregon native then joined Smith’s coaching staff as an assistant coach at McNeese State before accepting the head coaching position at NAIA member Oklahoma Wesleyan, where she led the Eagles for the past six seasons.
During her six seasons at OKWU, Reeves collected a 185-141 overall record, leading the Eagles to just their second-ever appearance in the NCCAA National Championship in 2015. Reeves’ players earned 31 all-conference nods over her six campaigns, including a pair of conference pitcher and player of the year awards as well as a freshman of the year laurel.