Associate head coach Megan Rhodes Smith returns for her fifth season as pitching coach for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.
During her tenure the Lady Bisons played in the NCAA Regional at the University of Tennessee in 2014, advancing to the final round. The team received the first at large bid in Lipscomb Sports and ASUN Softball history, setting the program record for RPI at 29.
Four of her pitchers have earned ASUN Conference honors with Mandy Jordan's All-ASUN Second Team selection in 2017. Kelly Young was named First Team in 2015 and Second Team in 2016. Tanner Sanders was a Second Team selection in 2015. Sanders and Young were picked to the ASUN All-Tournament Team in 2015. Ashley Anderson was a Second Team pick in 2014.
In all five seasons at least one of Lipscomb’s pitchers has placed in the top five in the ASUN in strikeouts, earned run average and wins.
Two pitchers in 2017, Jordan and McCarley Thomas finished in the top-6 in the ASUN in ERA, while Jordan led the ASUN in strikeouts. Jordan was a workhorse for the Lady Bisons as she threw more innings than any other ASUN pitcher with 230.0.
In 2016, the Lipscomb Softball staff led the ASUN with 396 total strikeouts. Young led the ASUN individually with 220, boasting an average of 7.54 strikeouts/game. Young finished the regular season ranked 16th in the nation in total strikeouts and 12th in strikeouts per seven innings.
She tied her career high in strikeouts with 15 vs. Jacksonville while throwing a one-hitter against Jacksonville and two-hitters against USC Upstate, Western Kentucky, and Troy.
Young was fourth in ASUN wins with 13. Sanders finished third in ASUN play with 127 strikeouts and fifth with a 2.45 earned run average.
Young finished the 2015 season in second place in strikeouts with 216 and four ASUN Pitcher of the Week honors (2/16/15, 3/2/15, 4/27/15, 5/4/15). She also finished ranked 21st in the nation in shutouts with eight.
Young pitched her first college no-hitter vs. IUPUI and threw a career high 15 strikeouts vs. Northern Kentucky. Across the ASUN in overall stats, she ranked first in strikeouts looking (53), second in strikeouts (216), second in ERA (2.56), and third in opposing batting average (.228), and tied for third in wins (18).
Sanders ranked third in overall strikeouts with 131, first in Conference only ERA with 1.80, and second in conference opposing batting average (.224). She was fourth in overall ERA with 2.88.
In 2014, Ashley Anderson placed second in the ASUN wins category with 20. She was fourth with a 1.58 ERA. Her strikeout total of 140 placed her fifth. She earned ASUN Pitcher of the Week on 3/3/14.
In one year, Anderson improved statistically in ERA (4.99 to 1.64), win-loss record (1-2 to 20-8), strikeouts (22 to 140, a career high), opposing batting average (.339 to .210) and complete games (one to 24).
Sophomore, Tanner Sanders, notched a win against No. 14 Baylor and garnered ASUN Pitcher of the Week on 2/17/14.
In 2014, the pitching staff improved in ERA (2.81 to 2.31) record (35-24 to 41-15), opposing batting average (.249 to .226), runs allowed (201 to 153), hits allowed (425 to 323) and homeruns allowed (37 to 28).
Smith spent the 2013 season with the Western Kentucky softball program, working with pitchers and catchers along with working with players on the mental aspects of the game. During her tenure at WKU, the program posted a 43-18 overall record, earning its first at large bid into the NCAA Tournament behind the arm of Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year and 1st Team All Sun Belt Selection, Emily Rousseau. Rousseau was also an NFCA All Region 2nd Team selection, Sun Belt All-Tournament Team, and 4 time Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week.
Western Kentucky pitcher, Mallorie Sulaski also earned a Sun Belt All-Tournament Team selection and Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week. The Hilltoppers posted 5 wins over ranked opponents: two vs No. 15 ULL, two vs. No. 25 South Alabama, and one vs. No. 11 Missouri, finishing the year ranked No. 28 in RPI.
Smith also has been an assistant at Middle Tennessee and Charleston Southern. Smith helped the CSU Bucs to their first 30-win season in program history.
Smith, a former standout at David Lipscomb High School, played four seasons for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols. She left the program ranked second all-time in strikeouts (726), third in wins (67) and fourth in innings pitched (570.1). She posted a 67-22 record for a .753 winning percentage and also had a 1.77 earned run average, both rank fourth best all-time. She made 135 appearances including 96 starts.
She helped the Lady Vols make three appearances in the Women’s College World Series.
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tennessee. She was an SEC Honor Roll member for three years with a 3.8 grade point average. She earned a master’s degree in sports studies with a concentration in sports psychology from Tennessee in 2009.
“Megan has a great track record for improving pitchers,” Ryman said. “I like Megan’s philosophy. She has a great coaching mentality.
“It is exciting for me that she has a master’s degree in sports psychology. She has a chance to not only impact our pitchers, but also our entire team.”
Also known for her community service Smith received the Brad Davis SEC Community Service Postgraduate Scholarship.
Megan and her husband, Kevin, have two daughters, Jillene and Jesslyn.
Megan’s father, Dr. Steve Rhodes, is director of instrumental ensembles at Lipscomb.