HEAD COACH JAMIE TRACHSEL

Jamie Trachsel was named the sixth head softball coach at Ole Miss on April 24, 2020, bringing 18 years of coaching experience to Oxford, including 10 as head coach at successful programs in Minnesota, Iowa State and North Dakota State.

The 2019 NFCA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year has collected 11 conference regular-season and tournament championships, developed 47 all-conference honorees, and guided her teams to the NCAA Tournament in seven of nine complete seasons, including a trip to the 2019 WCWS with the Golden Gophers.

With a 346-184-1 (.652) overall record as a head coach, including a .792 winning percentage against conference foes, Trachsel brings a tradition of winning in line with the lofty expectations held at Ole Miss, which boasts four NCAA Regional berths, two Super Regionals and an SEC Tournament crown over the previous four seasons.

In her three-year stint with the Golden Gophers, Trachsel took over a program on the rise and kept the ascent going to the upper echelon of the softball world. After finishing off her inaugural season in Minneapolis with 41 wins, a Big Ten Tournament title, an appearance in the NCAA Seattle Regional Final and four All-Big Ten and NFCA All-Region honorees, Trachsel helmed the Gophers to their most prolific season in history in 2019.

Playing arguably the nation’s most challenging schedule, Minnesota racked up a 41-12 record during the regular season, setting the stage for a magical postseason run. The No. 8 national seeded Gophers ripped through the Regional and Super Regional rounds of the NCAA Tournament with five straight wins, including two apiece over SEC foes in No. 14 Georgia and No. 10 LSU. Minnesota then set sail for Oklahoma City, making its first trip to the Women’s College World Series in the NCAA era.

Five Gophers were named to the All-Big Ten and NFCA All-Region squads, respectively, following Trachsel’s second season at Minnesota, while Gopher ace Amber Fiser was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and a First Team All-American.

Minnesota finished the season ranked No. 8 in both the USA Today/NFCA Top-25 Coaches Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top-25 Poll. The No. 8 ranking is the highest the Gophers have finished a season in either major poll. Minnesota also finished No. 7 in the NCAA RPI, which is not only the school’s highest RPI to finish a season, but the highest at any point in program history. For their efforts, Trachsel and her staff were named the NFCA Great Lakes All-Region Coaching Staff of the Year.

Ranked in the top 10 in five different preseason polls heading into 2020, Trachsel and the Gophers hit the ground running once again. Minnesota collected a 15-9-1 record prior to the cancelation of the remainder of the spring season due to the coronavirus, including ranked wins over No. 5 Florida State and No. 19 Missouri. Sophomore slugger Natalie DenHartog was tabbed a Shortened Season All-American by Softball America.

The Gophers also made history in the classroom under Trachsel. Their spring 2019 semester GPA of 3.63 was the highest in program history, while eleven different players notched 2019 Academic All-Big Ten honors. In total, Trachsel’s players have received 41 academic all-league honors.

Prior to taking over Minnesota, Trachsel spent one season in the Big XII as the head coach at Iowa State. She led the Cyclones to a fifth-place conference finish in 2017, garnering their highest league win total in eight years along with the best regular-season Big XII finish since 1994. Trachsel’s squad also saw improvement in the circle, dropping its team era by nearly two runs per game to the lowest since 2010. Two Cyclones earned NFCA All-Region First Team honors in Kelsey McFarland and Sami Williams, the latter selected to the All-Big XII First Team as well, one of only three freshmen league-wide to earn that award.

Trachsel arrived in Ames following 14 seasons at North Dakota State, including the final six as co-head coach. In those half-dozen seasons, NDSU compiled a 221-109 overall record (.670), a 98-19 mark (.838) in the Summit League and advanced to NCAA Regional play five times. The Bison won their conference regular-season championship and the tournament championship five times each with Trachsel as co-head coach.

NDSU won at least 30 games – including a school-record 45 in 2015 when it climbed as high as 41st in the NCAA Percentage Ratings Index (RPI) – for 10 straight seasons. The Bison advanced to the NCAA Regionals in seven of Trachsel’s final eight seasons in Fargo. In 2009, NDSU pulled a shocking upset, claiming the Norman Regional over perennial power Oklahoma.

Her tenure with NDSU began with two seasons (2002-04) as a graduate assistant, followed by three (2005-07) as an assistant coach, three (2008-10) as associate head coach and the last six (2011-16) as co-head coach.

During her stay in Fargo, Trachsel coached five All-Americans, 25 All-Region players and 59 All-Conference student athletes, including five Summit League Players of the Year and five Summit League Pitchers of the Year. The Minnesota native was also a part of staffs recognized as NFCA Midwest Region Coaching Staff of the Year twice in 2009 and 2015.

As a player, Trachsel competed for NCAA Division II program St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She led the Huskies to three straight NCAA Division II tournament appearances and one conference title. Trachsel made the 1999 NCAA Division II All-Region Tournament Team and received All-Academic honors from the NFCA twice. SCSU won 127 games during her career.

As a prep athlete, Trachsel earned 17 letters across four sports at Duluth (Minn.) Central High School. She is also a nine-time national champion in racquetball (1988-93 and 2003-05).

Trachsel earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management (minors in coaching and human relations) from St. Cloud State in 2001. She added a Master of Education degree in athletics administration from North Dakota State in 2006.

KATIE RIETKOVICH BROWDER
ASSISTANT COACH

Katie Rietkovich Browder enters her first season on head coach Jamie Trachsel's staff at Ole Miss, serving as an assistant coach in charge of leading the Rebel offense. Previously, Rietkovich Browder was a volunteer assistant coach at Ole Miss from 2016-18.

During her first stint in Oxford, the former Georgia Bulldog was pivotal in the establishment of Ole Miss as a standard for the slap-style of hitting, perfecting the craft of standout Rebel slappers like Kylan Becker, Elantra Cox and Paige McKinney. During Ole Miss’ historic 2017 season, more than a quarter of the Rebels’ hits never left the infield.

Rietkovich Browder also worked closely with the Rebel catchers during her initial stint at Ole Miss, including Courtney Syrett and Autumn Gillespie. Syrett ranked second in the SEC in 2017 with six runners thrown out, committing just two errors on the season. Meanwhile, since arriving in Oxford, Gillespie has been one of the most feared arms behind the plate in the nation.

Following the 2018 season, Rietkovich Browder was hired by Trachsel as an assistant coach at Minnesota, immediately making an impact and helping the Gophers to a magical run to the Women’s College World Series in her first season. In recognition of their success, Rietkovich Browder and the rest of the Minnesota coaches were named the 2019 NFCA Great Lakes Region Coaching Staff of the Year.

Rietkovich Browder’s Minnesota offense left their mark in the Golden Gopher record book during her lone complete season in Minneapolis, ranking second all-time in home runs (72), third in walks (225), fifth in doubles (87) and fifth in slugging percentage (.496). The Savannah, Georgia, native developed three First Team All-Big Ten honorees in Hope Brandner, MaKenna Partain and Natalie DenHartog.

Partain flourished in the leadoff spot under Rietkovich, breaking the school single season runs record with 66 and single game runs record with five in a game. Meanwhile, Brandner, a transfer from Oregon State, finished second all-time in single season home runs, crushing 19.

Rietkovich Browder’s most impressive work may have been the job she did coaching freshman DenHartog. After not beginning the year as a starter, DenHartog led the Gophers in slugging percentage (.780) and RBIs (64) and was second on the team in batting average (.373) and home runs (17). DenHartog was named a top-3 finalist for the NFCA Freshman of the Year award. The slugger went on to lead the Gophers in virtually every category in the shortened 2020 season and earned Softball America Shortened Season All-American honors.

Rietkovich Browder got her start in coaching at Savannah State, where she served for one year under head coach Jose Gonzalez as an assistant.

Rietkovich Browder made a few stops during her playing career, starting at Georgia under head coach Lu Harris-Champer, where she was a part of the Bulldogs’ third-place finish at the 2010 Women's College World Series. After her stint at Georgia, she played at the NAIA level at both South Carolina-Beaufort and Reinhardt University. In addition to her WCWS trip, she was a part of trips to two NCAA Regionals, two NCAA Super Regionals and an NAIA postseason run.

Rietkovich Browder earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from USCB in December 2014. She completed her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology from Georgia Southern in July 2016.

RYKER CHASON
ASSISTANT COACH

Ryker Chason enters his first season on Jamie Trachsel's staff at Ole Miss, working primarily with the Rebel pitching staff.

Chason joins the Ole Miss staff from SEC foe, LSU, where he spent four seasons as a student coach on the Tiger staff, assisting head coach Beth Torina with pitching charts and pitch calls. During his three complete seasons with LSU, Chason worked with seven NFCA All-Americans, including four at the pitcher position.

With Chason on staff, LSU put together an extremely successful four-year run, racking up 157 total wins, including 39 in SEC play. The Tigers continued their success into postseason play, winning an NCAA Regional Championship and advancing to Super Regionals in all three completed seasons, including a trip to the 2017 Women’s College World Series.

Among the lauded student-athletes Chason worked with in Baton Rouge are Tiger greats such as two-time All-American Carley Hoover, two-time All-American Allie Walljasper and 2019 Second Team All-American Shelbi Sunseri. Chason also helped instruct senior hurler Maribeth Gorsuch, who tossed the first seven-inning perfect game in LSU history this past season.

In addition to his work with the Tiger program, Chason served as pitching coach for the nationally renowned Georgia Impact Premier Club in Atlanta for four years, being responsible for the scouting the teams’ offense and defense. With Chason at the helm of the pitching staff, Georgia Impact captured the 2018 PGF National Championship and finished as the PGF National Runner Up in 2019.

Prior to making the move to Baton Rouge, Chason was an assistant coach at South Georgia State College for the 2016 season. During his stint in Douglas, Georgia, Chason helped the Hawks to a program-best runner-up finish in the conference tournament and was responsible for the organization and implementation of the program’s camps.

When not on the coaching side of the game, Chason is also a premier athlete in men’s fastpitch softball with the United States Junior Men’s National Team. He twice competed for Team USA at the WBSC Junior Men’s World Championship in 2014 and 2016. Chason is currently in the 40-man pool for the US Men’s National Team.

A native of Grand Ridge, Florida, Chason holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies for Louisiana State University.