WKU introduces new softball coach Amy Tudor

Kyle Williams

The Lady Topper softball team has a new face leading the program.

Amy Tudor, a member of the inaugural WKU softball team, was introduced as the new coach of the Lady Toppers at a press conference on Friday afternoon in Diddle Arena.

Tudor is the fourth coach in 13 seasons for the WKU softball program

.  The 2002 WKU graduate was a three-year captain in her time as a player on the Hill.

She said she is thrilled to return to WKU as a coach.

“This is an awesome opportunity to return to where I ended my career,” Tudor said. “I feel that this is a very special and unique place to be not only as a student-athlete, now as the head coach of the softball program.”

Tudor is replacing former coach Tyra Perry, who accepted the same position at Ball State earlier in August after leading the WKU softball program to its first 40-win season, Sun Belt Conference regular season title and NCAA Regional appearance last year.

Perry recorded 196 wins in her six seasons at WKU, the most of any coach in school history.

She has big shoes to fill, but Tudor said she is excited at the opportunity to pick up where Perry left off.

“It’s one of those experiences that only really happen once in your life,” Tudor said. “I want to take it to the next level. I want to build upon what Tyra Perry has done with the softball team last season and be able to take the softball team to that very next level.”

Tudor has a strong résumé of her own. She coached Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne to a Summit League Tournament title and its first ever NCAA Regional appearance last season and held a .680 winning percentage (136-64) in her four seasons as coach at IPFW.

Athletics Director Todd Stewart said Tudor’s consistency made her a viable candidate for the head coaching position.

“When our head coaching position became available, it was imperative that we hire the individual best prepared to accelerate our program’s growth and lead us to new heights,” Stewart said. “Amy’s nine seasons as a head coach have been marked by consistent success…She also knows our program well and knows what it means to wear WKU on the uniform.”

The Lady Toppers return plenty of talent next season for Tudor to work with, including senior pitcher Emily Rousseau, who recorded 25 wins and 220 strikeouts last season. Her 25 wins were tied for No. 27 in the nation and she was named the 2013 Sun Belt Conference pitcher of the year.

WKU also returns senior infielder Amanda Thomas, the Lady Toppers’ all time leader in home runs and runs batted in. Thomas was named to the second team All-Sun Belt Conference squad this past season.

Tudor said the veteran Lady Toppers are a key to a successful season next year.

“The senior class is very strong,” Tudor said. “It begins in the circle with Emily (Rousseau). She’s definitely been the big arm to take them to the next level and that definitely is an area I’ll be focusing on the most…I think the future is bright.”

Senior outfielder Kelsie Mattox said the more experienced Lady Toppers are excited to lead the group of underclassmen and try to extend the success they saw last season under a new coach.

“I think it starts with the senior class,” Mattox said. “We’re definitely going to lead the eight freshmen that we have and try to build upon what coach Perry started. We’re not done…we’re excited to get going.”