Smith steps down as softball coach

Smith steps down as softball coach

LA VERNE — Julie Smith has stepped down as the University of La Verne head softball coach and assistant athletics director, Interim Director of Athletics Scott Winterburn announced.

"Julie has been a valuable member of our staff and enjoyed a high level of success with our softball program. She also served a role in implementing strategies to move the department forward in the years she served on the athletics administration team. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors," said Winterburn.

Smith guided the Leopards for 11 seasons and led the team to historic heights. Under her direction, the Leopards won three SCIAC Regular Season Championships, three SCIAC Postseason Tournament Titles, and made the NCAA Playoffs four times. Her squads also made the SCIAC Postseason Tournament nine times. The Leopards never had a losing season with Smith as head coach.

Thirty-six of her athletes were named First Team All-SCIAC and 16 earned All-West Region recognition. Melissa Carlson (2009), Katherine Kibbe (2016), and Alexis Schiff (2017) each earned SCIAC Athlete of the Year honors under Smith's tutelage. 

In the classroom, Smith's athletes also excelled earning numerous SCIAC All-Academic honors and NFCA Scholar-Athlete recognitions. Under her direction, her squads were also extremely active in the community. They hosted an annual clinic with the Pomona Valley Wildcats of the Special Olympics and served other organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Ronald McDonald House, Strikeout Cancer, and Operation Gratitude. 

Administratively, Smith assisted in athletic facility planning, design, and development for numerous projects including the Campus West Athletic Complex and the Ortmayer Stadium renovation. Campus-wide she also led rebranding efforts that included a new logo and wordmarks and initiated and implemented the "Step-Up" program in collaboration with student affairs.

Smith ends her tenure at La Verne with a .608 winning percentage and an overall record of 287-185.

Henry Moranchel will serve as the interim head coach for the 2019 season. He will be entering his third year with the Leopards, having served as recruiting coordinator and assistant coach the past two seasons. He brings 14 years of softball coaching experience to the position. Previously, he served as the head coach at Mayfield Senior School for two years and worked as an assistant coach at both Bishop Amat and Temple City High School.

"Henry has been instrumental in the successes of our student-athletes in his time here and will provide our program with important direction during this transition," said Winterburn.

Moranchel holds a bachelor's degree from La Verne in movement and sports science. His wife Allison earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from La Verne, and his daughter Karina is currently a freshman at La Verne.

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