Softball Adds Three Coaches to Staff
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss softball coach Wendy Hogue announced Tuesday the hiring of Kayla Watkins and Carlos Castro as assistant coaches and Christian Castro as the volunteer assistant coach for the Golden Eagle program.
“I’m very excited about the new additions to our staff,” said Hogue. “Kayla, Carlos and Christian are not only quality coaches, but more importantly, they are quality individuals who share our vision of excellence for Southern Miss Softball.”
Watkins replaces Coy Adkins, who took the head coaching job at Southern Wesleyan University. Watkins will serve as the team’s pitching coach.
“I am truly excited to be joining the softball staff at Southern Miss, said Watkins. “I have known coach Hogue for quite some time and have immense respect for the way she leads. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside her and the rest of this staff as we seek to impact the young lives in our pursuit of excellence on the field, in the classroom and in our community.”
She comes to Southern Miss after spending last season at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee as their head coach. During her time, the Lions went 23-24 overall and 15-5 in conference.
Watkins also is responsible for the Lions’ senior Olivia Gore as the all-time hits (223) and doubles (48) leader in that program’s history.
Victory in both the classroom and on the field led to four Lions earning All-Conference First Team honors, one being named to All-Conference Second Team, a pair of newcomers making the All-Freshman list, two All-Defensive Team members, and five All-Academic honorees.
Prior to Bryan College, Watkins spent nine years as the head coach at Madison Central High School leaving with a 218-59 record. Watkins led the team to a MHSAA 6A State Championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and State Championship Runner-Up in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Watkins coached Kelly Young, 2012 Mississippi Gatorade Players of the Year, Katie Anne Bailey, who went on to play for Mississippi State and recent Golden Eagle graduate Bailey Stokes.
“To return to my home state and work with pitching, a part of the game that I am most passionate about, is an honor and a privilege,” said Watkins. “I would like to thank coach Hogue and the administration for allowing me to be a Golden Eagle.”
She earned a bachelor's degree in English Education with a math certification from Mississippi College in 2007 and is currently working on her master's degree in Interscholastic Sports Administration at William Carey.
Carlos Castro replaces David Martinez and will serve as the team’s hitting coach. Christian Castro, brother to Carlos will serve as the volunteer coach, assisting with hitting.
“I am excited for the opportunity to advance to the D-1 level at such a great university,” said Castro. The fact that I’ll be able to continue coaching with my brother and rejoin coach Hogue only adds to the excitement. The future of Southern Miss softball is very bright and I am grateful to be a part of the program.”
Carlos joins the program after a four-year stint at Jones Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi as their assistant/hitting coach. During his time, he coached in four Junior College National Championships (runner-up three times), four Junior College State Championships (champion three times), one NAIA Conference Championship (champions) and a NAIA World Series. He also coached three Junior College National Players of the Year including recent Southern Miss graduates Lauren Holifield (2015) and Tori Dew (2014).
Christian is also coming from Jones Junior College where he was a student assistant under Carlos.
Last year, the Bobcats hit 88 home runs, which ranked third nationally, and had a team batting average of .388. Jones scored 570 runs (third), had a .624 slugging percentage (fourth) and had a .455 on-base percentage (eighth) all of which are ranked in the top ten nationally.
In 2016, Jones hit 72 home runs, which ranked eighth nationally, and had a team batting average of .337. The team scored 439 runs, had a .533 slugging percentage and had a .405 on-base percentage.
Prior to JCJC, Carlos Castro was a graduate assistant at William Carey where he assisted the coaching staff and coached first base.
Carlos earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from William Carey in 2014. The Castro brothers are from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and attended high school at Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.