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FMU Softball Coach Resigns

        FLORENCE, S.C. - Francis Marion University athletic officials announced on Monday that women’s softball head coach Jack Byerley has resigned to accept a position at an NCAA Division I school.  An announcement on his new job will be released later this week.

        FMU athletic director Murray Hartzler said that a search for Byerley’s successor would begin immediately.

        Byerley came to Francis Marion in 2002 and in two seasons recorded a 73-26 mark.  This past season, a young Patriot squad (one senior) posted a 37-17 record and placed fourth during the Peach Belt Conference regular season and third at the PBC Tournament.  Francis Marion narrowly missed earning its first-ever bid to the NCAA Division II national tournament by winning 16 of its final 19 games, including a win over the nation’s top-ranked team in the PBC Tournament.  The team’s 37 wins were the third-most in the program’s history, and FMU compiled a program-best 12 conference wins.

        In his first season (2003), Byerley guided the Patriots to a 36-9 record, equaling the then third-highest win total in the program’s history, and a fourth-place finish during the Peach Belt regular season, after being tabbed to finish eighth in the preseason coaches’ poll.  During the 2003 campaign, the squad also spent two weeks in the NFCA Top 25 poll, FMU’s first national ranking since moving to NCAA affiliation in 1992.

        “We are sorry to see Jack leave, but this is a situation that he couldn’t pass up,” Hartzler said.  “In his two years, he has elevated our program to a position where we finished in the upper division of the Peach Belt and challenged for an NCAA Tournament bid.  He will be missed.”

        Prior to coming to Florence, Byerley spent two years as an assistant coach at the University of Florida, during which time the Gators posted a 69-63 combined mark and advanced to the 2001 NCAA Tournament.

        A 1981 graduate of the University of South Alabama, he started the fast-pitch softball program at Central Alabama Community College.  In four seasons on the CACC bench, he recorded a 205-47 mark, won four conference championships, and made three trips to the National Junior College Tournament.   He was named the Alabama Junior College Athletic Association Coach of the Year in 1997 and 2000.  He also coached volleyball at CACC and served as president of the AJCAA Coaches Association.

        Prior to his posts at CACC, he coached at Robertsdale (Ala.) High School.  He coached the slow-pitch softball team to a 211-46 record in six seasons, including five state tournament appearances.  In 1995, he started a fast-pitch program at the school and compiled a two-year mark of 107-9 and captured the first two Alabama High School fast-pitch state championships.  He earned the AHSAA Fast-pitch Coaches Award following both seasons.

         Byerley was the eighth head coach in the 25-year history of the FMU softball program.  The program boasts an all-time mark of 687-448-3 (.605 winning percentage), including five national tournament appearances in the 1980s.

Francis Marion University
Women’s Softball Program
Year Record Head Coach
1980     # 21-4 Shelia Moorman
1981     # 22-7 Shelia Moorman
1982     19-8 Shelia Moorman
1983     21-7 Ann Barton
1984     28-23 Ann Barton
1985     28-14 Ann Barton
1986     * 40-11 Ann Barton
1987     * 42-4 Ann Barton
1988     * 33-8 Ann Barton
1989     27-12 Ann Barton
1990     12-27 Renae Kirkhart
1991     18-32-1 Renae Kirkhart
1992     13-32-2 Renae Kirkhart
1993     28-22 Carrie Byrd
1994     11-28 Debbie Fore
1995     29-24 Debbie Fore
1996     27-23 Rendy Yates
1997     36-19 Bill Gray
1998     30-26 Bill Gray
1999     25-27 Bill Gray
2000     35-23 Bill Gray
2001     34-21 Bill Gray
2002     35-20 Bill Gray
2003     36-9 Jack Byerley
2004     37-17 Jack Byerley
# advanced to AIAW Division II World Series
* advanced to NAIA World Series


Last Published: August 5, 2004 7:24 AM
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