Natalie Poole Named Softball Coach

Published 1:04 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2022

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain announced Monday the hiring of Natalie Poole as softball coach.

Poole comes to Southern Miss after spending the last 11 years as the head coach at Memphis. She served as the second head coach in that program’s history.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Natalie to the Southern Miss family, said  McClain. “She brings a great deal of experience, energy, and knowledge to our program. Her extensive experience as a Division I head coach gives her the ability to come in and hit the ground running, allowing our student-athletes the best opportunity to succeed. We look forward to supporting her in building a championship culture her at Southern Miss.”

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During her tenure at Memphis, Poole mentored 11 all-conference selections, including three first-team picks, to go along with Kyler Troslcair Klatt, who earned the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in 2015.

Trosclair Klatt set plenty of records, including career hits (249), career stolen bases (78), and career runs scored (138). Trosclair Klatt was a two-time All-Conference performer, earning First-Team in 2017 and Second-Team in 2018.

The program also produced two All-Freshman selections over the final two years of Conference USA, before having two make AAC All-Rookie team accolades during their tenure in that league.

In addition to the success on the field, Poole’s importance on academics helped push one of its student-athletes to CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District honors and later enjoyed a program-record 15 NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete selections in 2021. In all, the Tigers produced 82 NFCA All-America Scholar-Athletes during Poole’s years at Memphis.

During her time at Memphis, Poole was selected as the NCAA Division I representative for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Board of Directors and also currently serves on the NCAA Softball Selection Committee.

Poole went to Memphis after spending three seasons leading the helm at McNeese State. She guided the Cowgirls to three-straight 30-win seasons, including a school-record 38 wins in 2010. Poole led McNeese State to two Southland Conference (SLC) Tournament championship games, winning the tournament title in 2010 and advancing to the NCAA Regional Tournament.

Poole compiled a 100-84 overall record and went 55-35 in conference play during the three years.

Poole was named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year in her first season at McNeese State in 2009 after leading the Cowgirls to a second-place finish in the league. The team finished the year with a 31-28 record, marking the Cowgirls’ first winning season in 11 years.

In her three years at McNeese State, 20 players earned All-Southland Conference honors. In 2011, outfielder Claire Terracina became the first Cowgirl since 2008 selected to the All-SLC first team. In addition, Alanna DiVittorio was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association co-Freshman of the Year in 2011.

Poole led McNeese State to a 31-29 record in 2011 and a third-place finish at the Southland Conference Tournament. Seven players were named to both the All-SLC and All-Louisiana teams.

Prior to returning to her alma mater, Poole served as the head coach for seven seasons at Georgia Southern, where she compiled a 212-215 career record. The Eagles went 71-53 in the Southern Conference under Poole’s tutelage and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2006. She was named the SoCon Coach of the Year in 2002, her first year as a head coach.

During her time at Georgia Southern, the Eagles had just one losing conference season and finished outside the top-four only once. The program set more than 15 single-season records, and four of the top six all-time home run seasons came in Poole’s tenure.

She coached the 2006 and 2008 SoCon Players of the Year and three SoCon Freshmen of the Year. During her time with Georgia Southern, 17 players earned All-SoCon honors, including a school-record eight in 2008. In 2006, Poole led Georgia Southern to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the SoCon Tournament with six-straight victories. The SoCon title was just the second in school history.

The Eagles nearly repeated as SoCon champions in 2007, falling in the conference tournament championship game.

Poole began her collegiate coaching career at McNeese State. She joined the Cowgirls staff as a graduate assistant in 1998 and served as an assistant coach from 1999-2001.

As a college athlete, Poole was a standout catcher for McNeese State from 1994-97. She was a three-time All-Southland Conference pick (1995-97) and a two-time All-South Region selection (1996-97). Poole also earned All-Louisiana honors in 1996. As a freshman, she helped the Cowgirls to a Southland Conference title and the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. Poole was named McNeese State’s Most Valuable Player her senior year and concluded her playing career with a .296 batting average.

In the classroom, Poole was a three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District VI selection (1995-97) and was a 1997 Academic All-American. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in painting from McNeese State in 1998 and earned her master’s degree in instructional technology from the school in 2000. In 2017, Poole earned her Doctorate in Education in Higher Ed Administration.

A native of Baton Rouge, La., Poole has one daughter, Isabella Grace.

What they are saying about Poole:
“I have a watched Natalie as a colleague who works hard and is committed to athletes as softball players as well as young women. She will be a great addition to the University of Southern Mississippi Athletics Department and a wonderful hire for the softball program!” – Robin Petrini (former Head Coach, Penn State Softball and all-time winningest coach in Nittany Lion softball history)

“I was excited to hear of Natalie’s hiring at Southern Miss as the next softball coach. I’ve known Natalie since my younger days in club softball in Louisiana and continue to interact with her today through recruiting. You won’t find a better woman to lead these athletes through their collegiate journey, all while playing the sport they love. I’m thrilled USM chose Natalie and look forward to the future with her at the helm of the program. The Eagles got a wonderful coach and person. SMTTT.” – Courtney Blades-Rogers (Southern Miss pitching great, M-Club Hall of Fame)