MISSOULA — Iowa State assistant softball coach Jamie Pinkerton has been named the first head coach of the Montana softball program.
The Grizzlies will play their inaugural season during the 2014-15 school year.
Pinkerton, who has been a head coach at Tulsa and Arkansas, says he’s thrilled to be the architect for the Montana program.
Montana athletic director Kent Haslam announced the hiring Tuesday. He called it an historic time for Grizzly athletics, noting the department hasn’t added a sport since women’s soccer in 1994.
Pinkerton rose to the top of an applicant pool of nearly 100. He interviewed on campus last week and was offered the job on Friday. On Monday he accepted. He’ll be in Missoula before Labor Day to start laying the program’s foundation.
“I was hopeful from the moment I left campus that I might be given the opportunity to start this program,” Pinkerton said. “To be the program’s architect is really thrilling.”
The Griz softball program got its start more than two years ago, when the Montana Board of Regents, in May 2011, approved an increased student athletic fee aimed at helping UM remain in compliance with Title IX gender equity metrics.
Pinkerton has been coaching NCAA Division I softball since 1994, and was a head coach at Tulsa from 2001-04 and at Arkansas from 2005-09. He spent the past four years as an assistant at Iowa State, where he was the recruiting coordinator for the past two seasons.
With Pinkerton’s first recruiting class in the program, Tulsa improved to 48-16 in 2002, a season that included a 19-game winning streak. Pinkerton pointed to that turnaround last week during his series of interviews as one of his favorite coaching memories.
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