Laurie Neelis joined the Southern Miss coaching staff for her second stint as a volunteer assistant coach in the fall of 2014. She formerly worked with the Golden Eagles for four seasons from 2004-07. Neelis is also an instructor with Southern Miss' School of Health Performance and Recreation.
Neelis helped lay the foundation for bigger things to come. The team ended the 2015 season 18-34 overall with a 3-21 mark in Conference USA play. The Golden Eagles' 2015 season included upsets of C-USA West rival UTSA (W, 5-4 on March. 8) and No. 21 South Alabama (W, 1-0 on April 22). The team also posted a winning record against in-state schools, going 6-5 (.545) on the season.
The 2015 season saw the Southern Miss softball team moving in the right direction. The Golden Eagles saw an increase in batting average of 21 points from .251 in 2014 up to .272 in 2015. The teams' slugging percentage increased 11 points, while the on-base percentage increased 27 points. The Black and Gold squad of 2015 produced 46 more hits and showed better plate disciple, drawing 41 more walks than the previous year.
In the circle in 2015, the Golden Eagles saw a 0.37-point reduction of the team earned run average, while allowing 22 less doubles compared to the previous season. Danielle Block saw her ERA drop 1.46 points, while the then sophomore's strikeouts nearly tripled. Samantha Robles reduced her run average 1.92 points despite missing significant time during the season with an injury.
Defensively, Southern Miss raised its team fielding percentage, reduced the number of stolen bases against, and trimmed the number of errors committed.
Off the field, Danielle Block was voted to the Conference USA All-Academic Team for the 2015 season. Block was joined by Mallory Hayden as a C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medalist, while 12 of the 22 members earned Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll accolades.
Prior to her most recent stint with Southern Miss, Neelis served as a volunteer assistant with the Golden Eagle softball program from 2004-2007.
Before Southern Miss, Neelis served as the head softball coach at Pearl River Community College from 1997-2001. At PRCC, Neelis helped move the program from slow-pitch style to the fast-pitch game prior to the 2001 season. As the fast-pitch coach, she compiled a 58-61 record in just three seasons.
She coached the slow-pitch team from 1997-2000. In 2001 and 2002, Neelis served as the president of the Softball Association for the MACJC. Prior to heading the Lady Wildcats program, Neelis was an assistant coach with Jones County Junior College.
Neelis earned two letters in softball playing for Alpena College in Alpena, Michigan. Prior to that, Neelis was a four-year letterwinner at Cheboygan Catholic High School, where she earned a letter every year in volleyball, basketball, and softball. As a softball player, Neelis was honored as an All-State and All-Regional player.
From Alpena, Neelis went on to earn her bachelor's degree from Southern Miss on 1994 and then advance her education with a master's of science in 1995, also from Southern Miss. The Cheboygan, Michigan native is a daughter of Eddie and Carol Neelis.