ALBANY – Darton State College hired Eric Neel, a championship high school coach from Mississippi, to take over the Lady Cavalier softball program, the Darton athletic department announced today.
Neel comes to Darton from Hattiesburg, Miss., and has led previous high school programs to a level of excellence both on the softball field and in the classroom. His teams have won five state championships over his seven seasons as a head softball coach. Neel’s programs were All-State Academic Teams each of his seven seasons as well.
“We feel that Coach Neel’s qualities and experiences will allow him to navigate the transition from the high school level to the college level very successfully,” Darton State College Athletics Director Mike Kiefer said. “He’s very personable and a good communicator, and his teams are known for strong fundamentals and a hard style of play.”
Neel’s successful coaching experiences amass a career winning record of 172-65 and a tough .726 win pct. He’s a coach who’s also well respected in his community, and was given a key to the city of Waynesboro in 2012 after leading Wayne County High School to three consecutive state titles.
And now Neel is ready to bring that kind of momentum to the Lady Cavs program.
“I’m excited about the opportunity given to me from the administration, faculty and staff at Darton,” he said. “And I’m eager to get work with the many talented softball players Darton already has.”
Neel will have his first official meeting with the team on Sunday, and softball practice will begin Mondayafternoon.
He’ll work with 11 talented freshmen and seven sophomores returning from a 2013 squad that went 36-12 overall before getting knocked out of the GCAA tournament in the semi-final round.
“I’m excited to see what kind of softball program we can turn this into,” he said.