Whitley Retires After Four Decades of Guiding Softball Program


After 36 years as the head coach of the Catawba College Softball Program, Nan Whitley has announced her retirement at the end of the 2018 season. Whitley also was an Assistant Athletic Director and served as the Senior Women’s Administrator. In addition to coaching softball, Whitley was the Head Field Hockey Coach for one season in 1975 then from 1982-2000.

“Nan’s record and dedication to Catawba College speaks for itself,” said Larry Leckonby, Catawba’s Director of Athletics. “She is a Hall of Fame icon who helped usher in the era of sports for women at Catawba. Nan has been involved in several different facets of the Athletic Department and she will be very hard to replace.”

Catawba played slow-pitch softball when Whitley began coaching in 1983. She led Catawba to three conference championships over seven seasons as the Lady Indians posted a 178-79 record. The 1987 team went 39-7 and claimed a second NAIA District 26 title in a three-year span. Whitley would guide Catawba into the fast-pitch era in 1990.

Catawba posted a winning record of 21-11-1 in just its second season of fast-pitch play and enjoyed one of its best years in 2007, setting a school record with 41 wins. In 2012, Catawba earned its first berth in the NCAA II Regionals.

Whitley finally broke through in 2015 with softball’s first South Atlantic Conference Championship as Catawba won the league tournament and made a second regional appearance. The Lady Indians repeated as SAC Tournament Champions in 2016, going 39-16 and competing in another NCAA II regional. Whitley coached Catawba to 626 wins in fast-pitch competition.

Whitley guided Catawba to 128 wins over 20 years as head coach of the field hockey program. In 1998, Catawba won the Deep South Tournament Championship, posting a 14-1-1 record on the season. In the tournament, Catawba recorded wins over Wake Forest and Appalachian State to earn the title.

As a head coach, Whitley collected 932 wins at Catawba. In 1993, Whitley was inducted into the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame.

Shane Prescott will serve as interim head coach as Catawba conducts a national search for Whitley’s successor.

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