The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi softball team made a big addition to the coaching staff recently when head coach Jake Schumann hired Lisa Norris to be the team's pitching coach. Norris, a native of Snellville, Ga., was a 2009 First-Team All-Southeast Region and All-ACC selection as a senior at North Carolina and has gone on to a successful career in the National Pro Fastpitch league.
Norris was recently named the 2010 Diamond Sports Pitcher of the Year for the Akron Racers after leading the league in wins (14), complete games (16), shutouts (four) and innings pitched (137.2). She also had the second-most strikeouts (126) and ERA (1.73) during the regular season.
One of the top pitchers in Tar Heel history, Norris' winning attitude will help give confidence to the Islanders pitching staff. She is third all-time in the UNC record books with 78 wins and third in strikeouts with 808 in her career.
Along with the technical aspect of her pitching knowledge, her experience will help the players reach their potential as they learn from one of the most successful pitchers in the game today after being without a pitching coach last season.
"Obviously pitching has been a sore point since my arrival here," said Schumann. "I think the hiring of the caliber of coach and athlete like Lisa Norris is only going to improve our pitching aspect.
"Hopefully we can fulfill all three aspects of the game. We have the hitting, we have the defense and now, with the hiring of Lisa, we should make giant strides with our team ERA right from the start."
In addition to immediate help with the pitchers, Norris should also help the Islanders recruiting. Having one of the elite pitchers in the game of softball is a huge plus from Schumann's perspective.
"Anytime you can bring somebody that is the pitcher of the year it is only going to add to your recruiting base," said Schumann. "It's not an automatic bid that those kids are going to come here, but it piques their interest, which is more than we have had in the past."
"It's a foot in the door and only going to be a positive for us. It's a two-fold hire, what she can help us with now and what she can help us with in the future."