South Carolina names former Gamecock Ashley Chastain new softball coach


Ashley Chastain, a former Gamecock student-athlete and graduate assistant, has been named the University of South Carolina's 11th head softball coach, Athletics Director Ray Tanner announced on Tuesday, June 11.

Chastain returns to South Carolina after serving as head coach for the Charlotte 49ers for the last five seasons, where she led her teams to a 154-96 overall record (61.6 percent), a 65-32 conference mark (67.0 percent) and two NCAA post-season berths.

"Ashley Chastain is the right choice to take our softball program to the next level," said Tanner. "She has had success in every stop of her coaching career. It is exciting to bring back a South Carolina alum to lead our softball program."

This season's Charlotte squad had a 39-18 overall mark, a 21-6 record in the American Athletic Conference and the program's first conference tournament championship, advancing to the NCAA Regionals for the second year in a row. The 49ers reached as high as 15th in the NCAA RPI and were ranked 27th in the final RPI before the NCAA Tournament selections.

The 49ers won the 2023 Conference USA regular season title and advanced to the NCAA Regionals, for the first time in school history.

During her last three seasons at Charlotte, Chastain's squads were ranked in the RPI Top 25 during each season and never lower than 38th. The 49ers never finished below .500 in conference play in her tenure and won 60 percent of their games in each full season.

"I am honored and excited to return to the University of South Carolina to lead this program," said Chastain. "I am extremely grateful to Coach Tanner for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. As an alumna, this university and program hold a special place in my heart, and I am committed to building on its proud tradition. The SEC is the premier league of collegiate softball, and my focus will be on fostering excellence within every aspect of the program to compete at the top of our conference and win championships. I look forward to connecting with Gamecock Nation and filling Carolina Softball Stadium with the best fans in the country."

Her Charlotte squads had NCAA Quad 1 wins at Florida State, at Georgia and defeated Virginia Tech three times in three separate seasons.

The 49ers won the Conference USA Eastern Division title in 2021 with an overall mark of 31-19 and a 14-6 conference record. The following season, the 49ers were 35-23 overall and 12-12 in C-USA play.

The Palmetto, Georgia, native has also been the pitching coach at College of Charleston (2014-16), Michigan State (2017) and Ole Miss (2018-19) between her time at South Carolina and Charlotte.

While at Ole Miss, Chastain was named the 2019 Softball America Pitching Coach of the Year, as the Rebels advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals. The Rebels posted 24 shutouts over Chastain's two seasons in Oxford. In 2019, the Rebels had the fifth-lowest ERA and third-most strikeouts in the SEC.

Chastain was an assistant pitching coach for one season at Michigan State, helping the Spartans to a 34-24 overall record and a run to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals and the National Invitational Softball Championships (NISC).

Chastain was the pitching coach for three seasons at the College of Charleston and helped the Cougars to a 99-68 record during that span. In her final season with the Cougars, College of Charleston had a 35-23 record while the pitching staff posted the eighth-lowest opponent batting average (.242) in school history.

During her Gamecock softball career from 2009-11, she led the team in starts, innings pitched and earned run average as a junior. She started her collegiate playing career at Columbus State University.

A three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll as a Gamecock student-athlete, Chastain finished her degree in history in May 2011 and earned her master's degree in secondary education from Carolina in 2012.

Chastain is the first USC alumnus to be named a Gamecock head coach since Boo Major, a 1981 graduate, was named equestrian head coach in 1998.