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Softball: Bruister steps down after five seasons

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Staff report

TWU softball head coach Richie Bruister, the 2013 Lone Star Conference and NFCA South Central coach of the year, is stepping down to start a softball program at another LSC school after five seasons coaching the Pioneers.

Multiple TWU sources close to the situation say Bruister is headed to Texas A&M-Commerce, the only LSC school without a softball program. Texas A&M-Commerce has scheduled a press conference for Wednesday to announce the hiring of its first softball coach. The school announced this spring that it was adding softball to its athletic program for the 2014-15 season.

“Richie Bruister has led TWU Softball to unprecedented success, most notably our first-ever appearance in the NCAA championships last May,” TWU Athletic Director Chalese Connors said. “He has left his mark on our program, and we are grateful for what he has done in just five years. Besides the incredible accomplishments on the field this past season, coach Bruister has always emphasized academic excellence as evidenced by his team’s grade-point averages. We wish him and his family all the best.”

Connors said that the school has started the process of finding Bruister’s replacement.

Bruister helped lead the Pioneers to a 51-14 record this past season, when they advanced to the NCAA Division II Women’s Softball Championship. TWU also won the LSC regular-season championship and cruised their way through the LSC tournament before playing host to and winning the NCAA South Central Regional and South Central Super Regional titles.

“This season is definitely one that will not be forgotten,” Bruister said. “As I have said before, the success we had was a true team effort. Everyone at TWU and in the city of Denton was the reason for the great things we were able to achieve. A big ‘thank you’ goes out for all of the cheers and support. I will miss coaching these wonderful young ladies, but I will be their biggest fan this coming year.”

Bruister sported a record of 183-97 in five seasons at TWU and guided the Pioneers to four straight LSC tournament appearances and three trips to the NCAA tournament.

Bruister came to TWU after five years as head coach at Henderson State from 2004-08. The Lady Reddies compiled a 163-93 record with Bruister in the dugout after posting a 46-143 mark in the five seasons prior to his arrival. Bruister won more than 30 games in three of his five years at HSU, including the 2008 campaign when the Lady Reddies went 39-18 to tie the school record for most wins in a season.