David Cohen | Content Writer
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Wendy Hogue is in her third season as the head coach of the Southern Miss softball programs. Hogue was announced as the eighth head coach in Southern Miss softball history on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. Hogue joined the Golden Eagles after a 10-year stint as the head coach of NAIA power William Carey University.
In the 2016 season, the Golden Eagles ended the season 30-28 overall with a 14-10 record in Conference USA play, advancing to the Conference USA tournament and finishing first in the West Division. The Golden Eagles' had standout wins against in-state SEC rival Ole Miss (3-2, on Feb. 24) and conference opponent #23 Florida Atlantic (3-2 on March 25).
The Golden Eagles saw an increase in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage from previous seasons. The team nearly doubled the number of home runs on the season and saw a 24 percent increase in RBI from 2015 to 2016.
In the circle for 2016, the pitching position saw a 0.85- point reduction of the team earned run average, allowing less triples than the previous season. Samantha Robles, after coming off an injury in 2015, had a standout season, ending with a 2.92 ERA over 196.1 innings pitched. Both Danielle Block and Jillian Johnson also saw a decrease in their ERA as well.
To go along with a successful season on the field the team had great success off. Twenty players on the roster were recognized for their academic achievements including Danielle Block and Tori Dew who were both named to the C-USA All-Academic Team. Along with the academic achievements, Lauren Holifield was named C-USA Newcomer of the Year and earned her spot on the All-Tournament Team. Holifield and Robles were named to C-USA Second-Team All-Conference as well.
In her first season the team ended the 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). Hogue and the team also posted a winning record against in-state schools, going 6-5 (.545) in her first season of Division I.
The Golden Eagles saw an increase in batting average of 21 points from .251 in 2014 up to .272 in 2015. The team's slugging percentage increased 11 points, while the on-base percentage increased 27 points in Hogue's first season. The Black and Gold squad of 2015 produced 46 more hits and showed better plate discipline, 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 under Hogue's tutelage, while the then sophomore's strikeouts nearly tripled. Samantha Robles reduced her earned 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 13 of the 22 members of the team (.591) earned Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll accolades.
In her first year with Southern Miss, Hogue saw an increase of support from the fans. The Golden Eagles set the school-record for attendance with 1,074 fans packing the Southern Miss Softball Complex for a doubleheader with in-state rival Mississippi State. The Golden Eagles led Conference USA in attendance for the 2015 season. In addition, season tickets sales increased with the announcement of Hogue as the head coach of the softball program.
Membership in the softball team's booster club, the Diamond Club, increased. The Diamond Club worked hand-in-hand with Hogue to do several facility upgrades during the offseason. The left field deck was extended and re-stained to accommodate an increased membership of the Diamond Club. The Golden Eagles' in-door batting cages received a face lift with new netting, new paint, and new graphics. The Diamond Club also repainted the locker room and players' lounge, while also installing new carpet in the facility to increase the student-athlete experience.
During her time at WCU, Hogue built the Lady Crusaders into a national power.
Under Hogue's direction, the Lady Crusaders made six NAIA National Tournament appearances (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014), including four Elite 8 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014) and two Final Four appearances (2010, 2014). In 2014, William Carey finished with a record of 52-12, was the runner-up in the 2014 NAIA Softball World Series and was ranked second in the final NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
Carey captured a Southern States Athletic Conference Tournament title (2012), two Southern States Athletic Conference West Division Regular Season titles (2011, 2012), two NAIA Unaffiliated Conference championships (2009, 2010), two Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament titles (2009, 2010), a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Regular Season championship (2009) and a Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament runner-up finish (2008).
In addition, Hogue coached thirteen All Americans. The Lady Crusaders were nationally ranked from March 2008 until June 2014 -- 64 consecutive polls -- under Hogue.
Hogue was named Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Coach of the Year in 2009, Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) Coach of the Year in 2011, and National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) East Region Coaching Staff of the Year in 2009, 2011, and 2012. She has served the NAIA as a Conference Chair, Conference Rater and National Rater. Hogue has been a member of the NFCA since 2004 and has served on various national committees. In 2013-14, Hogue served as the NAIA Representative on the NFCA Board of Directors.
In 10 seasons at the helm of William Carey, Hogue posted three seasons with 50 or more wins and six seasons of 40+ victories. In her final seven years with the Lady Crusaders, Hogue directed the team to six postseason berths, including five consecutive NAIA National Championship appearances. William Carey finished 21-11 (.656) with a runner-up finish in six NAIA National Championship appearances.
Under Hogue's guidance the Lady Crusaders were a Top 10 Scholar Team for her final seven years at William Carey. The 2012 team and the 2014 team were the top academic performing softball school in the NAIA. The 2014 squad ended the year with a 3.71 team GPA.
Hogue took over the William Carey program in 2005. In her inaugural season at the helm of the program, she produced 14 wins, 12 more than the previous season. The 2006 season saw the team improve to 21-21, its first .500 or better record under Hogue. The Lady Crusaders had a slight setback in 2007, finishing just under .500 with a 21-22 overall mark. The 2007 season would be the last time under Hogue that William Carey finished with a sub-.500 record.
The Lady Crusaders turned the corner in 2008 as the team finished the year with a 40-14 (.741) record and an appearance in the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
William Carey earned a second consecutive trip to the NAIA National Championship Tournament the following year. In addition, the 2009 Lady Crusaders won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship, posting an overall record of 42-7 (.857). During the season, Brittany Fuller set the NAIA record with 26 relief appearances -- a record that held until the 2013 season. Fuller (2006-09) finished her career with a NAIA record 79 relief appearances -- 33 more than second place. In addition, Fuller ended her playing career as the NAIA all-time leader in saves with 22 -- seven saves more than second place.
In 2010, William Carey returned to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. Under Hogue, the Lady Crusaders won the GCAC Championship. The team was the NAIA Tournament Pool / Opening Round Champion, concluding the season in the final four of the NAIA National Championship Tournament for the first time in Hogue's career. WCU ended the season with a 45-15 (.750) overall record, marking the third straight year with 40 or more victories for Hogue. During the NAIA National Championship, the Lady Crusaders tied the World Series record with four home runs against Mount Mercy (Iowa).
The 2011 season saw the Lady Crusaders win the Southern States Athletic Conference West Division Championship. William Carey once again earned a postseason berth and became NAIA Tournament Pool / Opening Round Champions, finishing the season at the NAIA National Championship Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. At the NAIA Championship, Judy Barber tied the NAIA record with two home runs against Lubbock Christian (Texas) on May 28. During the tournament, Barber finished with a NAIA World Series record 14 RBI and tied for second with four total home runs. As a team, William Carey posted the largest margin of victory, 17 runs, defeating Iowa Wesleyan, 17-0, on May 19.
The 2011 Lady Crusaders went 54-8 (.871) under Hogue's direction, posting the most victories in program history.
In 2012, Hogue and the Lady Crusaders notched a second-straight 50-win season, posting a 50-11 (.820) overall mark. William Carey won the SSAC Regular Season Championship, the SSAC Championship and the NAIA Tournament Pool / Opening Round. For the fifth consecutive season, Hogue and the Lady Crusaders ended the year at the NAIA National Championship Tournament.
After graduating six seniors from the season before, Hogue just missed the postseason in 2013 as the Lady Crusaders ended the year with a 34-18 (.654) record. William Carey's starting pitcher suffered a career-ending injury, putting a damper on a potential record-setting season.
In 2014, the Lady Crusaders returned to form with a postseason berth. William Carey won the NAIA Tournament Pool / Opening Round, advancing to the NAIA National Championship Tournament for the sixth time in program history -- all under Hogue. During the Championship Tournament, Sarah Beckman tied for fourth in NAIA history with 10 RBI. As a team, the Lady Crusaders tied the NAIA Tournament record with four double plays turned against Reinhardt (Ga.) on May 28. The Lady Crusaders notched a 52-12 (.813) overall record, falling to Auburn-Montgomery in the National Championship game.
Hogue's coaching career began as an assistant coach for slow-pitch softball in 1998 at Petal High School. In 2000, Hogue became the first head coach for fast pitch softball at Petal. In her five years with the Lady Panthers, her teams reached the playoffs each year and won a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) District championship (2004) and finished as the MSHSAA South State runner-up (2004) once.
Hogue first arrived at William Carey in 1995 and played on the inaugural team under current Baylor head coach Glenn Moore. While at Carey, Hogue excelled on the field and in the classroom and was the recipient of numerous awards for both. Hogue graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1998 with a Bachelor's of Science in Education. In 2008 she earned her Master's Degree in Education as well.
Wendy is married to Eric Hogue and they have two children, Kinley Grace and Keaton.