Irwin names Tiffany Baker assistant coach

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baker receives NCAA Woman of the Year nomination

 JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 15, 2011) – Head East Tennessee State University softball coach Brad Irwin announced Monday afternoon that former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga third baseman, Tiffany Baker, will join his staff this fall.  

Baker built quite the impressive resume during her four-year playing career at Chattanooga, and she will work with the hitters, infielders, and tackle daily operations at ETSU.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Tiffany from her high school days and was fortunate to coach her for three years at Chattanooga,” said Irwin. “Tiffany was an outstanding player and has one of the strongest work ethics I have ever seen – nobody outworks Tiffany Baker. However, even more impressive, she is an outstanding person and will also be an amazing role model for our players at ETSU. We’re very excited to have Tiffany join our Buccaneer family.”

The former Lady Moc hit 50 career home runs, shattering both the Chattanooga and SoCon all-time marks, while also being a three-time NFCA All-South Region and First Team All-SoCon selection. Along with her success on the field, Baker also posted a 3.73 grade-point-average in the classroom en route to being named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District IV First Team. The three-time SoCon All-Academic member played an integral role in helping Chattanooga reach its first-ever regional final appearance this past season. Baker hit .455 (5-for-11) with a double, three home runs, three runs scored, and six RBIs in the four games played at the Tuscaloosa Regional.  

Baker, who hit 18 of her 50 round-trippers in 2011, was tied for 13th among NCAA Division I players and she also ranked 13th in RBIs per game (1.16). To go with her 50 career homers, Baker hit .325 (200-616) with 39 doubles and 163 RBIs in 218 games (217 starts) for the Lady Mocs. In addition, Baker led Chattanooga to four SoCon regular season titles and three NCAA Regional appearances.

Not only did Baker receive news of being an assistant coach on Irwin’s staff, but the East Ridge, Tenn. native also learned she was a Southern Conference nominee for the 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year last week. Baker graduated magna cum laude this past Saturday with a Health and Human Performance, Pedogogy degree.

To be eligible for the award, the nominee had to have completed their eligibility and received their undergraduate degree prior to conclusion of the 2011 summer term. The selection process used to determine the winner includes the student-athlete's service and leadership, academic achievement, athletics excellence, and a personal statement.

Along with stellar success on the diamond and in the classroom, Baker also gave back to the community. Baker assisted in setting up activities with an honorary teammate through the Jaclyn Program and teaching the game of softball to younger athletes. She also spent time volunteering with Girl Scouts Athletics Day, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Read Across America Day through the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). 

A total of 473 student-athletes were nominated by their respective schools for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, and Baker is now among the final 142 honorees – with the top 30, 10 from Division I, II and III – being announced in late August.

The NCAA selection committee will narrow its list down to the top three student-athletes in each division. The national winner will be announced during the 2011 Woman of the Year dinner in Indianapolis, Ind., on October 17.

For more information on Buccaneer softball, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.

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