Spring Hill Hill softball head coach Steve Kittrell announced his retirement Thursday after five seasons leading the Badgers’ program. Kittrell and the Badgers recently completed their season with a 1-0 loss in 10 innings in the championship game of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) tournament.
It marks there second retirement for Kittrell who spent 25 seasons as the baseball head coach at South Alabama, his alma mater.
“When I first came to Spring Hill, I just thought I could help them through the transition from the NAIA and into NCAA Division II,” Kittrell said is a statement released by the school. “SHC had unexpectedly lost their coach to a Division I job and I thought I could help out that year. But I had so much fun that season that I ended up sticking around. The girls made it so much fun and they taught me so much about coaching women’s softball. I’ve learned a lot the past five years.
“At 73, it’s time to turn things over to a younger person. I had a great time and Spring Hill is a great college. I’m proud of what we did over the years to improve the program and I had a ball. I now look forward to fishing, spending a lot of time watching SHC softball and baseball, as well as watching South Alabama baseball more than I’ve been able to.”
Joining Spring Hill in December 2017, Kittrell led the Badgers to the 2019 SIAC championship and the NCAA South Region Tournament in the team’s first year of postseason eligibility after transitioning to NCAA Division II. Kittrell built a 102-71 overall record with the Badgers, including a 55-6 mark in the SIAC, despite the 2020 season being interrupted after only 15 games and the 2021 season consisting of only 26 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“SHC has been very fortunate to have the caliber of person as a coach and mentor in athletics the last several years as Steve Kittrell,” said SHC Athletics Director Joe Niland. “Steve brought his vast knowledge to teach and motivate young people to the Hill when our softball program really needed that stability. Not only did he pass along his knowledge and enthusiasm, but Steve also improved the SHC softball facilities by personally raising the funds to build our new covered hitting facility. We cannot be grateful enough to Coach Kittrell for his service to Spring Hill College and wish him the best in his retirement.
Prior to his time with the Badgers, Kittrell built a career record of 1,052–644–1 (.620) in 25 seasons as the head baseball coach at South Alabama (USA) from 1984 to 2011 following one season as the Badgers head baseball coach in 1983. Kittrell began his coaching career as the head baseball coach at Niceville (Fla.) High School where he posted a 35–15 record in two seasons. From 1976 to 1978, he served as the head baseball coach at UMS in Mobile where he went 95–34. Kittrell coached at Enterprise State Junior College from 1979 to 1980 with a record of 52–30 before taking the reins of the Spring Hill baseball team for one season in 1983, posting a 33–19 record.
Kittrell played baseball at USA and later played one season in the Boston Red Sox organization, reaching Class-A Winter Haven.
On February 23, 2009, Kittrell became only the 50th coach in NCAA baseball history to reach the 1,000-win plateau and he led the Jaguars to 18 NCAA tournament appearances, including 10 Sun Belt Conference championships.
A member of the USA Athletic Hall of Fame, Kittrell announced his retirement from the Jaguars program on June 25, 2010 effective after the 2011 season.
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