Samantha Jones, who played in an NCAA Super Regional as a student-athlete and who has extensive coaching experience, has been chosen to lead the Morehead State softball program.
Jones takes over the Eagle program following a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Miami University. Prior to her time with the RedHawks, Jones was the head coach at Asbury (Ky.).
"Samantha is a great fit for Morehead State and our softball program," said Director of Athletics Brian Hutchinson. "She is an accomplished collegiate assistant and head coach and was an outstanding player in her own right. Her experiences as a collegian really model our program aspirations, respecting our path and our intended destination. The Ohio Valley Conference is very competitive, and Coach Jones' energy and passion for our program will help us get there. Our softball program is in great hands."
At Miami, Jones helped produce a high-powered offense which ranked among the best in program history. The 2017 team scored 265 runs (second in Miami history) while ranking on the team's top-10 list in home runs (47), doubles (74), runs per game (5.0), RBI (222) and walks drawn (161). In addition, the team's .967 fielding percentage was among the best five in school history.
"I am incredibly excited to be the next leader of the Eagles. I want to thank Brian Hutchinson and the hiring committee for giving me this opportunity to become part of the Morehead State softball family," said Jones. "I'm looking forward to leading the team to its competitive potential and making an impact in the Ohio Valley Conference. I am honored to be a part of a community that takes so much pride in Morehead State and the student-body.," said Jones.
As academic advisor, Jones' teams set program records for semester team grade-point average (3.62) and overall school-year GPA (3.45).
"Thank you to Miami, especially (head coach) Clarisa Crowell, for providing a learning environment where I could grow as a leader and as a person," she said. "I will forever be proud and grateful to have been a coach for the RedHawks."
On the field, Jones appeared in 207 career games at Kentucky, helping her senior-year squad (2011) advance to an NCAA Super Regional and win 40 games. She belted 10 home runs and drove in 34 runs as a senior in being named team Offensive Player of the Year. Jones connected on 20 home runs in her four-year career.
She was selected to the 2009 SEC Community Service Team and the 2010 All-SEC Academic Team. Jones was a member of the school's Dean's List and the SEC Honor Roll every season. She was also awarded the Brad Davis SEC Community Service post-graduate award, the Darrel Van Meter Community Award and the Frank G. Ham Character of Society Award.
"Thank you to everyone who has helped pave the way before me," Jones added. "I want to thank my family for their continuous support, my selfless husband who has sacrificed so much for me and our family to make my dreams a reality, and especially God for opening this door."
Jones immediately jumped into the coaching realm following her collegiate career, leading the Asbury Eagles from 2013-16.
In 2016, six athletes, including all five of Asbury's seniors, earned spots on the All-Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference teams. Jones was also named the KIAC Coach of Character winner at the end of the 2016 season. The honor is given each year to only one coach in the conference who best exemplifies the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character Initiative.
Jones was standout student and athlete at Marlboro High School in New York. She was the team's starting shortstop for six seasons and had a career batting average of .522, including a .636 mark her senior year. Jones has been inducted into the New York State High School Softball Hall of Fame.
She is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and has led camps and clinics at her alma mater, Miami and Ohio State.
Jones, the eighth head coach in Morehead State program history, earned her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology, exercise and science from Kentucky in 2012 and is on track to earn her master's degree in sport leadership and management from Miami this year.
Jones and her husband, Meau, have one son, Parker Reed.