Michael Williams | Assistant Coach
With less than five weeks until the start of the 2019 season, first year head coach Molly Fichtner
is putting the finishing touches on her staff with the addition of volunteer assistant Michael Williams.
"We are very excited to add Michael to our staff," said Fichtner. "He's a hardworking, enthusiastic coach and has a true passion for the game. He is eager to help elevate the ULM softball program, and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do to help our team. Michael's responsibilities will primarily be with our hitters, but he will do some assisting with our defense as well."
Before joining the Warhawks staff, Williams spent two years at Paris Junior College. While at Paris, Williams was the hitting coach and assisted with infield defense practice. During his time as hitting coach, Paris Junior College boasted a .300 conference batting average and averaged over six runs per seven innings. Williams also oversaw the academic progress of all student-athletes.
Prior to his time at Parish Junior College, Williams acted as a graduate and volunteer assistant at Stephen F. Austin State University. While with the Lumberjacks, Williams helped with all areas of the team, overseeing scouting for opponents and video analysis for games and practices. SFA advanced to the semi-finals in the Southland tournament two of Williams' three years as an assistant.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity at ULM," said Williams. "I've heard so many great things about Molly and her staff. This spring will be great getting to work with them and compete with this great team. The Sun Belt is a competitive conference and it will be exciting getting to compete for a championship."
Williams graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with his bachelor's in business management and his master's in business administration.
Jessica Thorton | Assistant Coach
Thornton first joing the staff in 2016, as an assistant coach under former head coach Corey Lyon. Since, Thornton has made both an offensive and defensive impact on the program.
Thornton, for the last three seasons, coached all-star athlete Rochelle Roberts. Roberts a four-time Sun Belt All-Conference player, became a Top-25 USA/ASA Player of the Year candidate in 2016, and graduated in 2018 after breaking ULM's all-time hits record (246) and signing off as one of the most successful base runners in ULM history.
Since her arrival, Thornton has predominately instructed the base runners, coaching the Warhawks to a top 30 finish in stolen bases in all of Division I in 2018. Over the past three seasons, ULM has finished the year ranked as high as 12th (2016), with this seasons 81% stolen base success rate being the highest in Thornton's time at ULM.
Thornton, making an impact off the field, is the head of softball operations. Thornton over sees the booking of team travel, meals, distributing team apparel, organizing recruiting functions and campus visits, and supporting camp operations.
The Vancouver, Washington native played two seasons as an outfielder at Mount Hood Community College, under Jacksonville State alum, coach Meadow McWhorter. She earned NFCA All-America honors as a sophomore and Southern Region Player of the Year as a freshman. She led MHCC to a combined 69-18 record, a Southern region title, and back-to-back NWAC championships. She was named the MHCC Female Athlete of the Year in 2011 and earned a Southern Region First Team honor. Thornton also earned NWAACC all-academic honors as a sophomore.
She then transferred to Jacksonville State University where she finished her playing career as an outfielder and designated hitter under long time coach Jana McGinnis. Thornton appeared in 98 games for the Gamecocks and made 87 starts during her two-year JSU career. The Gamecocks won the 2013 Ohio Valley Championship, which gave them a berth to the 2013 NCAA regional tournament in Tuscaloosa, AL.
Personal: Born July 6. 1991 in Portland, Oregon to Chris and Shirley Guy…Has one sister, Christi…Wife to Cole Thornton, maiden name Guy. Jessica and Cole recently welcomed son, Colby earlier this summer....Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Wellness…Master of Science in Human Performance.
Melanie Coyne | Graduate Assistant Coach
Top 5 in ULM Record Books for:
Innings Pitched in a Career (671.6)
Appearances in a Career (133)
Strikeouts in a Career (436)
Games Started as a Pitcher in a Career (109)
Total Wins (53)
Complete Games in a Career (61)
Total Shutouts in a Career (19)
Games Started as a Pitcher in a Season (38)
Coyne heads into the 2018-19 season as a graduate assistant to the ULM softball program for the second consecutive season. As the primary pitching coach, Coyne mentored former Warhawk Paige Porter-Murray during the 2018 season, leading her to multiple top 10 spots in the ULM career record book. Murray was second in the Sun Belt Conference in walks allowed (39).
With Coyne's help, Murray and the rest of the ULM pitching staff was able to lead the team to the 2018 Sun Belt Tournament for the 11th consecutive season.
2016 (Junior): Led the SBC with 234.2 innings pitched … Notched an 18-23 record with a 3.64 ERA complimented by 143 strikeouts … Tossed 24 complete games including five shutouts … Threw a scoreless frame against Tennessee State (Feb. 20) to earn her only save of the season … Hurled a one-hit shutout in five innings versus Evansville (Feb. 20) … Second shutout came in a game featuring Middle Tennessee State where she allowed just two hits and struck out four (Feb. 27) … Twirled a four-hit shutout in ULM’s 6-0 win over DePaul (March 4) … Took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in her fourth shutout versus Troy (April 10) … Final shutout came in a 2-0 win over Georgia State (April 30) as she scattered seven hits and also recorded two doubles of her own … Hit .255 in 47 at-bats including five doubles and a homer … Drove in five runs … Stole a base at UT Arlington (April 16)
2015 (Sophomore): Appeared in 34 games with 28 starts in the circle, the fourth most starts in the conference... Pitched 160.1 innings of work for the Warhawks, the third mos innings pitched in the conference... Pitched a career-long 8.1 innings vs. UT Arlington on April 11... Struck out 103 batters while allowing only 74 walks, including a career-high game of 12 strikeouts vs. Appalachian State on March 7... Recorded her first career save in the second game of the double header with the Mountaineers on March 7... Dealt four shoutouts and one combined shoutouts... Closed the season with a 13-15 record and a 3.67 ERA... Went 7-for-9 at the plate for a .368 average... First career hit cam against Grambling State on Feb. 14... Scored three runs and drove home five with first career RBI coming at Appalachian State on March 7... Recorded two doubles with her career-first coming against Ole Miss on March 18... Named to the 2015 All-Tournament Team.
2014 (Freshman): Started 8 games on the mound for the Warhawks as well as making seven relief appearances, pitching 56.2 innings over the season… Threw two complete games, including a one-run, seven inning win vs. Houston Baptist on Feb. 15, her first career start and victory… Posted a 4.69 ERA on the season, the second lowest ERA for ULM… Pitched to a 4-4 record with victories over Houston Baptist, Southern on Feb. 22, UT-Arlington on April 18 and Lamar on April 23… Posted the team;s second highest strikeouts with 50… Held opponents to a .254 batting average, allowing a team-leading low of 54 hits over the season.
Prep: Lettered all four years at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa High School in Santa Ana, Calif. ... Earned first team all-league honors from 2010-12 ... Named pitcher of the year in 2011 and 2012 as well as the league's MVP in 2012 ... Went undefeated in league play all four years and pitched two perfect games ... Had a career record of 28-6 going into her senior season.
Personal: Born Melanie Sarah Coyne on June 19, 1995, in Long Beach, Calif., to Michael and Evelyne Coyne ... Has one brother, Maximus (10) and a sister, Stphanie (19) ... Sister plays softball at Concordia-Irvine ... Went on mission trips to Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Costa Rica ... Majoring in English at ULM.