Former Limestone College softball great Amy Yates enters her sixth season as the head coach of her Alma Mater in the spring of 2018.
During the 2017 season, her Saints posted new program record for wins in a season with 45 while also earning their highest seeding in the NCAA Southeast regional. During the year, the team posted a 13 game win streak that included a sweep of then No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne. The Saints advanced all the way to the Regional Final, the furthest they have ever advanced in NCAA play.
The 2017 season also saw the Saints take home multiple conference awards including the Player of the Year in Caroline Hill and the Pitcher of the Year in Josie Weber. Those two were also the first players named to the NFCA All-Region team in history. Bailie Maybry also became the first Limestone player to earn First-Team All-Conference honors in all four years in a Saints jersey.
The Saints picked up their third straight Conference Carolinas Regular Season title in 2016 on the back of a 17-4 clip in league play. She helped guide five players to All-Conference honors including the Player of the Year in Caroline Hill and the Pitcher of the Year in Josie Weber. Yates was also named Coach of the Year for the second time in her career.
In 2015, Yates and her Saints made history by winning the program’s first ever Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship which also earned the program’s first ever NCAA Division II Regional Tournament berth.
In a season where as many as six freshman were starting at any one time, Yates guided Limestone to a historic season that saw them defeat nationally seventh-ranked West Chester University, 3-0.
The 2015 Limestone Saints complied a 28-15 overall record and notched a 13-3 mark in conference play as it captured its fifth Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship, and its second in a row.
Yates’ Saints won their first ever conference tournament championship the hard way by defeating North Greenville University 1-0 in a winner-take-all final game.
The victory enabled LC to compete in the NCAA postseason for the first time ever. The Saints met eventual National Champion the University of North Georgia on the Nighthawks homefield.
In 2014, Yates guided Limestone to its fourth Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship with a 12-4 mark in league play and a 31-18 record overall. She was named the Conference Coach of the Year and had a program-record seven players named All-Conference.
Yates returned to the program she helped build into a three-time Conference Carolinas Regular Season Champion as Associate Head Softball Coach in August of 2012.
Yates, who played four years at shortstop for Limestone from 2003-06 and was the program’s first four-time All-Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference selection, returned following two years as head coach at Pfeiffer University.
During her time with the Falcons, she led the club to a Conference Carolinas Tournament berth in 2011, notching a pair of victories which included a one-run decision over top-seeded Limestone in the tournament opener. That year Pfeiffer had two All-Tournament selections and produced one All-Conference Carolinas Second-Team selection in each of her two years.
Prior to her time with Pfeiffer, Yates served as an assistant coach at Limestone from 2008-10 and helped guide the club to back-to-back Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championships in her final two seasons. The 2010 squad also delivered a program record 40 wins, capping off a three-year stretch that resulted in 100 wins and a league record of 36-19.
Largely responsible for the recruiting during her time in Gaffney, Yates’ efforts also led to a third straight title in 2011 despite her having moved on to Pfeiffer that season. Among her recruits for the Saints was Jenna Guse, who went on to join Yates’ in becoming the program’s only other four-time All-Conference selection. Included among the most impressive individual accomplishments by her recruits were Conference Carolinas Co-Pitcher of the Year honors for current senior Leah Quant in 2010.
Following her playing career she also served as an assistant coach with the Newberry softball program in 2007. She was responsible for recruiting, handling the pitchers and arranging team travel. That season Newberry posted a program record 34 victories.
One of the most decorated players in program history, Yates earned CVAC Freshman of the Year honors in 2003 and was an All-CVAC First-Team selection as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She garnered Second-Team honors as a senior and was named to the All-Tournament Team as a sophomore and junior. As a result of her tremendous career, she was one of just 11 players selected to the All-Time CVAC Team commemorating the best players from that era of the conference.
She started all 211 games of her career and finished with impressive marks of a .369 batting average, 251 hits, 169 runs, 59 doubles, 24 triples, 23 homeruns, 115 RBIs and 76 steals in 83 attempts. She currently ranks in the Top Five in program history in each of those categories and remains tied for the most doubles.
Yates graduated from Limestone in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management. She also holds a minor in History and was a member of the Honors Program.
Amanda Hayes enters her first year as an assistant with the Limestone College softball team, returning to her old stomping grounds from which she graduated from in 2014.
Hayes returns to Gaffney following one season with Pickens High School as its junior varsity co-head coach and varsity assistant coach. During her time with the Blue Flames, she assisted with all aspects of the program while leading the physical conditioning sessions for the team.
Concurrently with her time at Pickens, she also served as the co-head coach for a 14-under team in Rock Hill, where she was in charge of all planning aspects of practices and conditioning. She also provided private lessons to some team members.
During her education at Limestone, Hayes served as an intern in both the softball office and the strength and conditioning office. While on the softball field for the Saints, she started 86 of 90 games in the outfield, holding down the center field position for two years. She hit for .271 in 236 at-bats, while driving in 31 runs. She also had 24 stolen bases, including 16 in her junior campaign.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino and Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Dennis Bloomer have given me to be a Saint once again,” Hayes noted. “I am excited to be coaching at Limestone College and being a part of such a strong athletics department and softball program.”
Hayes holds an Associate’s degree from Spartanburg Methodist College and a Bachelor’s degree in Strength and Conditioning, with a minor in Coaching, from Limestone.