Most sports articles are focused on the astonishing exploits of athletes. But the men and women who mentor these stars can also be pretty amazing themselves.
Two coaches who have reached major milestones can be found on the campus of the University of Mobile. They are Mike Jacobs and Uwe Tittl.
Jacobs picked up his 800th career coaching victory in a big way, as the Rams baseball team defeated No. 1 ranked Faulkner University 6-3. That brought his overall mark to 800-508-2, which ranks 14th in wins among active NAIA baseball coaches.
He started the program in 1990, and has directed the Rams to three conference championships and a berth in the 2001 NAIA World Series. Jacobs has coached 32 players who went on to sign professional contracts, and 10 Rams have won either conference player or pitcher of the year honors.
Tittl has recorded 400 victories in his coaching career, but in a much more varied way. He has guided the men’s and women’s teams in tennis, along with the women’s soccer squad.
He began the UM women’s soccer program in 1992, and has a 196-90-9 record. Included in this total is the 1997 NAIA national title. Tittl has a 144-67 record with the women’s tennis team since 2003, and a 60-40 mark with the men since 2008.
“I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to coach this long, and work at a school that provides the support necessary to reach 400 wins,” Tittl said.
• While these coaches are likely to keep adding to their victories, one celebrated coach is planning to hang up her whistle. Kelli Hillier has announced she is stepping down as head of the volleyball team at St. Paul’s Episcopal School after the 2014-2015 campaign.
Hillier was a star at St. Paul’s herself in volleyball, basketball and track. She went on to play at the University of Georgia, where she earned all-SEC honors and was an honorable mention All-American.
While at St. Paul’s, she has coached the Lady Saints to 570 wins and six state championships in 13 seasons. Eleven of her players have gone onto the college ranks.
Her No. 7 Saints jersey is retired at St. Paul’s. School officials say it will remain there to “encourage every young female athlete to strive to be the best she can be.”
Lady Jaguar selected in draft
Hannah Campbell, a senior left-handed pitcher for the University of South Alabama softball team, has received a special recognition. She is the first female in school history to be drafted by a professional sport.
Campbell was taken with the third overall pick by the Akron (Ohio) Racers of the National Pro Fastpitch League.
The Satsuma native has a 76-30 record now in her final season at USA, with a career earned run average of 1.66. In 2013, she became the Lady Jaguars’ first softball All-American, as she was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s second-team squad.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet; the nerves are still going,” Campbell said after the announcement. “I’m pretty excited; I’m honored.”
Campbell currently owns the following USA school records in softball: fewest walks allowed per 7 innings (1.28), wins (76), saves (15), complete games (85), shutouts (26) and strikeouts looking (162).
Campbell is a three-time All-South Region selection, and has been named Most Outstanding Player of the Sun Belt Conference in 2012 and 2013. She has thrown two perfect games in her career, and is on the “watch list” for the Collegiate Player of the Year award.
Some big events are on the calendar for this week. The first is the Reese’s Senior Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on Thursday, April 10, at the Grand Hotel at 6:30 p.m.
This year’s members include Demarcus Ware (Senior Bowl 2005), first-round pick out of Troy University and seven-time All-Pro with the Dallas Cowboys; Torry Holt (Senior Bowl 1999), first-round selection from North Carolina State, seven-time All-Pro with the St. Louis Rams and holder of the 10th most receiving yards in NFL history when he retired; and Bill Kollar (Senior Bowl 1975), first-round pick out of Montana State who played eight seasons in the NFL and has been a coach for 30 seasons.
Up Interstate 65 in Huntsville, the 2014 True South Rugby Championship is taking place Saturday and Sunday. Mobile’s Battleship Rugby Football Club recently beat the Okaloosa Islanders, 20-19, to secure a spot in the tournament. For more information on the Mobile team, which has an 8-1 record this season and won national titles in 1992 and 2001, please visit www.battleshiprugby.com.
On April 14-16, the University of South Alabama is hosting the Sun Belt Conference women’s golf championship. The teams will compete that Monday through Wednesday at Steelwood Country Club in Loxley. The course was designed by former U.S. Open champion Jerry Pate and opened in 1997.
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