By MATTHEW STEVENS
Mississippi State will have a new head coach on the softball field for the first time since 2003.
MSU officials made the news of the dismissal of head softball coach Jay Miller official Wednesday when the university announced Miller’s contract will not be renewed ending his nine-year tenure guiding the program.
After taking the State softball program to five NCAA Tournament appearances during his first six years at the head of the program, the Bulldogs were just 78-89 over the last three seasons.
The Starkville Daily News has learned the members of the MSU softball team were informed of the decision Tuesday evening after meetings occurred between Miller and State athletics director Scott Stricklin.
Miller compiled a 295-253 ledger in his nine years at MSU, the winningest mark in program history. This past season, his 29th as a collegiate head coach, he claimed career victory No. 1,000 with a 4-3 win against Auburn on April 8.
In 2009, Miller was named the head coach of the United States National Team. During a two-year stint, he guided U.S.A. to six gold medals in as many events.
“We appreciate everything Jay has done for our softball program through his nine years as our head coach,” Stricklin said, “We wish him the best in all his future activities. These are always difficult decisions, however, we believe it was time for new leadership to guide our program in a different direction
Miller’s contract expires June 30 and MSU officials stated in a university released Wednesday that a national search will begin immediately to find his replacement.
The firing of Miller represents the first coaching dismissal of Stricklin's athletics director tenure that begin a little over a year ago.
Miller, a 2008 inductee into the National Fast pitch Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, guided three players to All-America status a total of eight times. He also coached 14 All-SEC selections, including freshman of the year winners Courtney Bures (2005) and Chelsea Bramlett (2007).
Miller's squads also excelled in the classroom as during his tenure, 59 Mississippi State players earned NFCA All-America Scholar-Athlete awards, and 88 student-athletes garnered Academic All-SEC laurels. Two players, Bramlett (2010) and Kate Jaspers (2004), earned Academic All-American of the Year honors from CoSIDA.