UNCW Selects Norton As Softball Coach
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Kristy Norton, who helped turn James Madison into one of the top softball programs in the Colonial Athletic Association, has been named head coach of the UNCW softball program.
Norton becomes just the fourth coach in the 28-year history of fast-pitch softball at UNCW. She replaces Kelly Van Houten, who was relieved of her duties in May.
"We're delighted to welcome Kristy to the Seahawk family," said UNCW Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass. "She was an outstanding player during her collegiate career and that strong pedigree has carried over into coaching. Kristy is one of the bright young coaches in the college game. We're looking forward to seeing the program make significant progress under her tenure."
Norton joins the Seahawks after spending seven seasons with the Dukes and carrying the Harrisonburg, Va., school to its first CAA tournament crown and NCAA Tournament berth in 2009.
Under Norton's instruction, JMU featured the best offensive season in the program's history in 2007, setting single-season marks for batting average (.311), slugging percentage (.472), runs scored (278), home runs (42), and RBI (264). The Dukes were ranked nationally in batting average (14th), slugging percentage, (24th) and runs scored (36th) en route to a school-record 37 victories that season.
Norton has had 24 players receive a total of 42 All-CAA and CAA All-Rookie Team accolades during her time with the program, while two players, Ashley Burnham and Jenn Chavez, earned CAA Player-of-the-Year honors under her tutelage. Chavez was the first Duke to earn the award in 2007 and Burnham was the league's first two-time recipient (2010 & 2012).
Norton began her collegiate coaching career at her alma mater, serving two seasons as an assistant coach at UNC Greensboro (2003-04). Norton worked with the team's outfielders and hitters, developed the team's strength and conditioning program and coordinated travel arrangements. She also served as head coach of the Carolina Wildcats, an 18-under travel softball team, from 1999-2002
Norton enjoyed an outstanding collegiate playing career for the Spartans, earning All-Southern Conference and honorable mention All-South accolades during her four-year career (1999-2002). A durable second baseman that set team records for games started (252) and at-bats (785), Norton was also proficient at the plate, ending her career second on UNCG's career list for hits (222), doubles (41) and fifth in runs batted in (106).
A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Norton earned her Bachelor's Degree in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in coaching from UNCG in 2002. She completed her Master's in Recreation and Sports Management in 2005.