Georgia Highlands names first softball coach

Georgia Highlands names first softball coach

Georgia Highlands College has appointed native Georgian Melissa Wood as women’s softball coach. She comes to GHC from North Idaho College, where she served as assistant softball coach and physical education instructor.

While there, she helped the team break the home run record with 79 in one season. She also coached four National Junior College Athletic Association all-conference team members and a NJCAA all-region team member.

Before going to Idaho, she coached as a graduate assistant softball coach and assisted with intramural experiences at Berry College while she was earning her Master of Education degree. Despite her challenging schedule, she graduated with honors from Berry.

She also helped build the Viking team from the ground up for its inaugural season in 2009. By its second year, Berry’s team had its first winning season, improving in a number of statistical categories, including batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, fielding percentage, walks and stolen bases.

She began her college career in 2004 playing for the Flor-ida State University team, where she was a two-year starting catcher for the top 25-ranked Seminoles. She was ranked in the top seven in the Atlantic Coast Conference in seven dif-ferent offensive categories during league games. She tallied five game-winning hits and threw out 11 attempted base steal-ers in route to a Super Regional runner-up finish against Ari-zona State and a number 15 final ranking in NCAA Division One.

After her sophomore year, Wood transferred to the Univer-sity of Georgia, where she played for two seasons with the Bulldogs as a catcher and first baseman. She led the team in RBIs in 2007 (46) and home runs in 2008 (11). She was awarded the UGA Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. That same year she earned her Bachelor of Science in sociology from the in-stitution.

After graduation in 2008, she played professional softball in Austria for the Dornbirn Sharx when that team won the Gold Medal in the Austrian League and the Silver Medal at the European Championships in Prague. She was named Most Valuable Player at the European Cup after starting in all 10 games. The next year she returned to defend the Gold Medal in Austria and take the Gold Medal at the European Cup in Legnano, Italy.

Wood will build the GHC women’s softball team from the ground up for a competitive start in Cartersville for the 2013-2014 academic year. She will also coordinate the institution’s intramural sports.