South Carolina Gamecocks: New hire on the diamond is a USC alum

Per reports, after Bev Smith was fired over the weekend, the South Carolina Gamecocks softball program has found its next coach in alum Ashley Chastain.
South Carolina Gamecocks softball
South Carolina Gamecocks softball / Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner has made several coaching changes this spring, including letting go of longtime softball coach Bev Smith. USC had made it out of Regional play in the NCAA Tournament just once in Smith's 14 years in garnet and black, and the team's win rate in SEC play was very poor, so it was time for a change.

It didn't take long for Tanner to zero in on the top candidate for the job.

According to reports from Monday by Rounding Third Softball, the next coach of the South Carolina softball program is going to be Ashley Chastain, a former Gamecock pitcher.

Chastain played for Carolina from 2009-2011 after one season at Columbus State. During her time with the Gamecocks as a player, she was one of the top pitchers on the team, leading the squad in innings, starts, and ERA in her junior season.

After her playing days ended, she served as a grad assistant in Columbia before making stops as an assitant coach at College of Charleston, Michigan State, and Ole Miss. She was the recipient of the Softball America National Pitching Coach of the Year award in 2019 with Ole Miss.

Chastain became the head coach of the Charlotte 49ers ahead of the 2020 season. She grew the program in a big way, bringing it up from being a low-level mid-major to a legitimate threat in their conference(s). After just one conference title in the team's history, Chastain led Charlotte to two regular season conference titles (one in Conference USA and one in the AAC), one AAC Tournament championship, and the program's first two NCAA Tournament appearances.

Chastain will make the trip south down I-77 to her alma mater, looking to rebuild what was once a proud South Carolina Gamecocks softball program.

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