Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage announced Tuesday that Oregon assistant Blake Miller has been named the Cavaliers’ new head softball coach. Former coach Eileen Schmidt had resigned May 13 after six seasons at the University.
Miller brings 13 years of coaching experience to a team that finished 4-17 in ACC play in 2013, most recently in Eugene, Ore. During his three-year tenure as an assistant at Oregon, the Ducks reached the NCAA Super Regional each season and advanced to the Women’s College World Series in 2012.
“We are committed to building a softball program at UVA that can compete with the best programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference and nationally,” Littlepage said. “I believe with the vision, the plan and the hard work of Blake Miller, we have the opportunity to be a team that competes for championships.”
Miller also has head coaching experience with Texas A&M-Kingsville and Darton College before joining Oregon in 2011.
“Coach Miller has a wonderful background and a wealth of experience in a top softball program like Oregon,” Littlepage said. “His knowledge of the collegiate and club softball communities allows him to draw on the great contacts he has throughout the country, which will benefit our program in many different ways.”
Miller, a 2000 graduate of UNC Pembroke, is also a seven-time member of the USA Men’s National Team and captured a gold medal at the 2002 Pan-American Qualifier in Guatemala City. He is married to former all-conference pitcher Renee Hietbrink.
“I would first like to thank Craig Littlepage for providing me the opportunity to be part of an incredibly successful athletics department as the head coach of the UVa softball team,” Miller said. “This is an exciting time for my family and me being welcomed into Charlottesville and at an institution steeped in a strong tradition of academic and athletic excellence.”
Miller inherits a team that went 145-168 in Schmidt’s six-year tenure and had a 1-6 mark in ACC Tournament play. The Cavaliers have had just one winning season in conference play since 2005.
“I’m looking forward to getting to work and bringing my version of speed and aggressiveness to the Virginia softball program and to leading the Cavaliers to ACC and national prominence,” Miller said.