Last Modified: Tuesday, June 03, 2014 10:35 AM
By Jim Gazzolo / American Press
The American Press has learned that Joanna Hardin will be named the new softball coach at McNeese State Thursday.
Several sources have confirmed that Hardin will replace Mike Smith, who left last week for Ole Miss after leading the Cowgirls to back-to-back Southland Conference titles and a school record 40-win season this year.
It is believed that Hardin, who has served as an assistant coach with McNeese under Smith the past two seasons, had an opportunity to go with him to Oxford, Miss. but chose to apply for the Cowgirls’ top position.
Hardin was in charge of the pitchers and catchers for McNeese.
Hardin played softball for Smith at Biola Universtiy in La Mirada, California. She was was named to the NFCA and NAIA All-American first team in 2002 and finished her career as a three-time first team All-Golden State Athletic Conference and first team All-Region III selection.
Hardin began her coaching career as the head coach at Whittier Christian High School, in La Habra, CA, from 2005-2007. While also teaching full time at WCHS, Hardin helped guide the Heralds to an Olympic League Championship Title in 2006.
From 2007-09, Hardin served as assistant coach at Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA.) where she oversaw the pitching staff, conducted camps and clinics, and organized daily practices. In her two years at Liberty, the team finished the 2008 and 2009 season as the Big South Conference Tournament Runners-up. Under Hardin’s tutelage, Tiffani Smith (2011 graduate), was selected to the First Team All- Big South Conference in her sophomore year, the first Flame to receive such honor since 2001.
Smith has given Hardin credit for helping the McNeese pitchers, like sophomore Jamie Allred, who was named the Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year recently.
McNeese will hold a press conference Thursday to make it official.