May 7, 2008
In her third season as head coach of the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team Kristin Peck has earned Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year honors.
Peck was selected for the award by a vote of A-Sun coaches. Peck directed the Lady Bisons to a 16-6 A-Sun record and a 29-24 worksheet overall. The Lady Bisons earned their first ever regular season softball title, tying with Florida Gulf Coast and USC Upstate. The Lady Bisons are the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament which begins Thursday morning at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla.
The Lady Bisons were picked to finish seventh in a preseason poll of conference coaches. Last season they were fifth with a 9-8-1 record.
Peck, 68-88-1 for her career, admitted she was surprised to earn Coach of the Year honors.
"There are so many good coaches in our league," said Peck. "Many of them reached big milestones and I earned my 50th victory this year. I feel a little bit out of my league, but it is an honor that means a lot to me that other coaches recognize the hard work we are putting in and what we are doing as a team."
Peck, who played both softball and volleyball for Lipscomb, was a graduate assistant coach in softball when the Lady Bisons made their first trip to the conference tournament four years ago in Boca Raton, Fla. Peck was hired as the full-time softball coach after receiving her Master's degree from Lipscomb in 2005.
"Kristin Peck has done a phenomenal job in directing our softball program for the three years and is most deserving of the Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year award," said Dr. Steve Potts, Lipscomb's Director of Athletics. "She is, at a very young age, a rising star in the coaching profession and we are most fortunate to have her as our head coach at Lipscomb University."
Peck was not the only award winner for the Lady Bisons. Pitcher Alaina Jacobson, shortstop Abby Keese and designated player-utility player Kellie Sirus were all named to the All-Atlantic Sun Second Team. All three are sophomores.
"I am really excited that Alaina got something," Peck said. "There are some outstanding pitchers in our league. I felt like her overall numbers didn't do her justice, but in conference she was as good as anybody. Her numbers did prove that in conference play.
"She is somebody who has given people headaches with her style of pitching. Sometimes when you are a slower pitcher, like she is, people kind of overlook you because they want to see the speed and the strikeout numbers. Alaina is not going to have a ton of strikeouts, but she throws people off balance enough to put us in a position to win. She is a huge reason we came into the tournament this year as the No. 1 seed."
Keese is known for her hitting, especially her ability to hit with power with 14 home runs and 12 doubles this season. Keese was a member of the A-Sun All-Freshman Team last season.
"Abby had a strong start and slowed down a little bit," Peck said. "Abby is somebody who can do it at any given moment.
"She is one of the most competitive players I have ever coached. She wants to win, even if she is playing you in checkers. She is someone who has carried the middle part of our lineup, especially in the first half of the season.
Sirus proved her versatility serving as a designated player, third baseman and right fielder this season. Sirus was also a member of the A-Sun All-Freshman Team last season. She finished fourth in the conference overall in hitting for the regular season with a .393 average.
"Kellie's numbers have been better all-around this year, except for her home run total which has been on a quick climb since the middle of the season," Peck said. "She has had a lot of things to deal with this year. She puts on a smile whenever she comes to practice and she gets it done everyday. She has been a true utility player for us. She even played one game at second base.
"It has been a lot of fun to have her here and get these results out of her. She has really started to see in herself what she is capable of. She is really realizing right now how much she loves to play. She could have been a first-teamer this season. She has been that presence in the middle of our line-up the second half of the year that carried us through."