OXFORD • Not often does Ole Miss poach from the Big 10 to name a head coach, but the Rebels found experience and a track record of success when they announced Jamie Trachsel as softball coach last week.
That experience could be valuable quickly as Trachsel, the program’s third head coach in five months, helps the program move past the breakup with former coach Mike Smith.
Smith went 146-94 in five seasons with two super regional appearances and an SEC Tournament championship.
He resigned last December after an external audit of the program.
The Rebels lost seven of their first eight games and finished 12-13 in the abbreviated 2020 season under interim coach Ruben Felix.
“We need someone who can come in and stabilize things,” Ole Miss athletics director Keith Carter said. “Our young ladies have been through a lot.”
Trachsel will make $245,000 a year for four years.
Her teams reached the NCAA Tournament in seven of the nine complete seasons she’s coached including five at North Dakota State and both of her seasons at Minnesota. Last year’s Gophers team reached the Women’s College World Series.
Minnesota was 15-9-1 when the 2020 season ended.
Trachsel said healing is part of the process in a coaching change regardless of circumstances.
“It doesn’t really matter how they happen they’re just hard. There are a lot of emotions, different opinions, emotions and conversations that take place behind the scenes. The dynamic of your team is going to be impacted,” she said. “There will be a unifying message, getting these kids excited about what they’re doing again and moving everybody forward.”
A native of Minnesota who played Division II softball at St. Cloud State, Trachsel became emotional when she spoke of leaving her home state.
She was one of six candidates interviewed by a search team led by Carter.
Interviews were conducted through video conferencing, but Trachsel visited the campus before she was announced as coach.
Time for upgradesAn athletics fund-raising campaign is on the backburner during the COVID-19 outbreak. When it can resume, softball stadium renovation will be a priority.
“What we found when we started hosting regionals is that we don’t have the infrastructure to do that,” Carter said.
Before the administration fixes the brick and mortar, Carter hopes to see Trachsel fix people. He believes Trachsel’s experience as a head coach will help.
“You could tell in the team meeting there was a sense of, ‘Hey, we’re ready to move forward. We’re ready to have some stability,’” Carter said. “There was a sense of, ‘It’s time to move forward.’”