Paige Cassady was named Easton/NFCA National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Official NFCA Release Current Liberty associate head softball coach Paige Cassady has been named the Easton/NFCA Division I National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Cassady, in her sixth year with the program, will be given the national award at the Champions Brunch at the NFCA National Convention on Dec. 8 in Chicago, Ill. Cassady was selected as the top assistant coach in all of NCAA Division I softball for the 2018 season, spanning 296 schools that sponsor Division I softball.
This marks the fifth year for the Easton/NFCA National Assistant Coach of Year program. The award is given to the top assistant coach at all three NCAA divisions, NAIA, four junior college divisions and high school.
This is the second NFCA award that Liberty coaches have received this year. For their efforts, Liberty's coaches were voted the 2018 NFCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Coaching Staff of the Year. At season's end, Liberty had a program-best RPI of 29.
Cassady has coached on Dot Richardson's staff for five seasons, helping guide the Liberty pitching staff to more wins and a lower ERA in each of the last five years. From 2015-18, the Lady Flames won 155 games, which is the winningest four-year span in program history.
Liberty is coming off of a pair of record-setting seasons, as the Lady Flames won back-to-back Big South regular-season titles in 2017 and 2018. The 2017 campaign was highlighted by Liberty's 46-24 record, as the team won the inaugural Postseason NISC title. In 2018, the Lady Flames won a program-record 49 games (49-14), advancing to the NCAA Columbia Regional final with wins over No. 24/24 Hofstra and No. 10/11 South Carolina.
Cassady's pitchers have made a major impact on the program's record book. Two-time Big South Pitcher of the Year and NFCA All-Region selection Julia DiMartino holds three program career records after just three seasons of play. DiMartino is the program career record holder in wins (68), shutouts (24) and strikeouts (592), while in 2018 she broke team single-season records for wins (29), shutouts (10), saves (6) and strikeouts (230).
Cassady has coached four different Liberty pitchers to all-conference honors, led by DiMartino's three Big South All-Conference first-team selections. Chandler Ball (2015), Kenzie Friesen (2017) and Chase Cassady (2018) have all earned second-team all-conference honors under Cassady's guidance. Additionally, Friesen, the 2017 Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year, has spent the last two summers competing internationally for Softball Canada.
Her staffs have posted some of the most dominant stretches of pitching in Liberty softball history. In 2018, Liberty posted a 2.04 ERA and 19 shutouts, including a 0.97 ERA over the final 23 games of the season. During the 2017 season, Liberty went 44 innings without giving up a single run, tossing six straight shutouts. The 2016 Lady Flames set a program single-season record with 377 strikeouts.
The Lady Flames, having gone 95-38 in the last two seasons, will enter the ASUN Conference this season, boosting a league which ended the 2018 season with the sixth best conference RPI in the nation, and best among non-Power 5 conferences.
2018 NFCA National Assistant Coach of the Year Award Winners NCAA DI - Paige Cassady, Liberty NCAA DII - Jess McIntyre, Lee NCAA DIII - Robin Baker, Wisconsin-Eau Claire NAIA - Kayla Adams, Science and Arts NJCAA DI - Shelby Shelton, Howard NJCAA DIII - DJ Johnson, Rock Valley NWAC - Taylor Gould, Mt Hood CC Cal JC - Alex Mascarenas, Mt. SAC HS - Alyssa Dillard, New Palestine
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