After six seasons, 233 wins, and six trips to the postseason, East Central Community College head softball coach Kristin Chaney is hanging up her coaching cleats.
Chaney informed the college and her team she was stepping away from coaching after the Lady Warriors' 2018 season ended in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 23 Tournament Friday, May 11.
She will resign effective June 2 to accept a position in the private sector.
East Central Community College President Dr. Billy Stewart thanked Chaney for her exemplary leadership of the Lady Warrior softball program and announced that a search will begin immediately to find a replacement.
"We have known for some time that Coach Chaney was considering leaving the coaching profession," said Stewart. "After many months of consideration and prayer she is convinced that God is leading her to make a change in her life at this time, and we are excited to see how God will use her as she begins this new chapter in her life.
"I have always been extremely proud that Kristin Chaney was our softball coach. She won a lot of softball games at East Central and she did it the right way—with Excellence and Class. But more than that, she had a tremendously positive impact on the lives of so many people during her time at East Central as a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach. She recruited quality young ladies who were gifted both athletically and academically and who gave it their all every time they stepped on the field. She has been a great example of a Lady Warrior and we will miss her here at the college.
"So many of her players have left and will leave East Central changed academically, physically, socially, but most importantly, eternally, because of their time spent as a member of the Lady Warrior softball team. I am convinced that Coach Chaney could have had no greater impact than that."
Stewart said he will be forming a search committee next week to begin the process of finding the next head softball coach at East Central Community College.
"I have been struggling with this decision for about six months and an opportunity became available for me to be able to experience many other things in my life that I enjoy," said Chaney, who was a standout student-athlete at ECCC.
"It was an honor and privilege to be the head softball coach at East Central. I was able to come back and give back to my alma mater that gave me so much. I took great pride every day knowing I was able to lead a program with such high standards that we have set here at East Central. I will forever bleed black and gold.
"I would like to thank Dr. Stewart and the administration for supporting me these six years. I also want to thank all the many players who have come through this program and believed in and made this a program to be respected and reckoned with year in and year out.
"Finally, I want to thank my family for supporting me in this decision. It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make, to walk away from something that I have always known and that has been a major part of my life since I was three years old. But I know I am loved and supported and that my future is in the Lord's hands, and I trust Him."
Chaney took over the East Central softball program in 2012 after four years as the assistant coach.
She led the Lady Warriors to a 233-80 record in those six years, including a second-place finish in the 2015 NJCAA Division II Softball National Championship Tournament in Clinton. All six of her ECCC teams qualified for postseason play.
Her 2018 team finished the season with a No. 10 national ranking, a 36-14 record, and a trip to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament. The 2017 Lady Warriors finished with a 42-6 record and a No. 8 ranking in the final NJCAA Top 20 poll. Her 2016 team was 42-8 and ranked No. 11 in the final poll.
Chaney is a 2005 honor graduate of ECCC and an academic Hall of Fame member. She is recognized as the college's only two-sport All-American (basketball/softball) and was selected an NJCAA Academic All-American. She finished second in the NJCAA Female Athlete of the Year competition.
Chaney helped lead the 2005 ECCC softball team to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Central Division Title and a third-place finish in the MACJC/NJCAA Region 23 Tournament en route to a record 34 wins and only five losses. She received NJCAA All-American, All-Region 23, first team All-State and All-Central Division honors following the record-setting campaign. In addition, she received the Lady Warriors' most valuable offensive and defensive player awards.
She also had success leading the softball squad during her freshman season in 2004. East Central finished 26-14 after claiming the MACJC Central Division Title and advancing to postseason play. She was one of only three freshmen and the only Mississippian selected second team All-American following the successful season. She also received All-Region 23, All-State and All-Central Division honors in addition to her selection as the Lady Warriors' most valuable player.
After graduating from ECCC, Chaney attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where she received master's and bachelor's degrees in sports administration in 2008 and 2007, respectively. She was also a standout member of the Lady Eagle basketball team, receiving most valuable player honors following the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. In addition, she received the Female Student of the Year and Lady Eagle Award in 2006-07. She was also a member of the 2007 and 2008 Lady Eagle softball teams.
A graduate of Newton County High School, she is the daughter of Ricky and Brenda Chaney of Little Rock.