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
Ole Miss head coach Mike Smith announced the hiring of Taryne Mowatt as the newest assistant coach for the softball program. Mowatt brings her experience as a former All-American pitcher to the Rebels and will serve as the team's pitching coach.
"I am excited to welcome Taryne to our softball program here at Ole Miss," said Coach Smith. "As a national champion and All-American, Taryne has transferred her success as a player to now coaching collegiate pitchers. Her accomplishments on the field prove that hard work and dedication pays off, and she is a valuable addition to the team."
Mowatt was recently an assistant coach at California Baptist for three seasons, helping the team to NCAA regional appearances each year along with PacWest Conference championships in 2012 and 2014. As the team's pitching coach, Mowatt instructed a pitching staff that consisted of program-record holders for wins, innings pitched and complete games. She also coached a conference pitcher of the year, freshman pitcher of the year, and three all-conference honorees.
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
Ole Miss head softball coach Mike Smith announced the addition of volunteer assistant Katie Rietkovich to his staff Friday.
The Savannah, Georgia native and former Georgia Bulldog comes to Ole Miss from Savannah State where she was an assistant coach for one season under head coach Jose Gonzalez.
"Her mind is unbelievable for being as young as she is," Smith said. "She knows every facet of the game from base running, to picking signs and pitching and catching. She's a competitor who doesn't want to lose and that's exciting when you have someone like that on your staff."
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