@LATechSB Montgomery Named LSWA Coach of the Year

June 3, 2017

RUSTON – After guiding Louisiana Tech to the 2017 Conference USA title and an NCAA Regional appearance, Louisiana Tech coach Mark Montgomery was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association State Softball Coach of the Year Saturday.

In a vote of a panel of LSWA members and sports information directors, Montgomery won the award in a state deep in talented softball coaches and college teams, including NCAA College World Series participant LSU and NCAA regional participants UL-Lafayette and McNeese State.

“This is really a coaching staff award,” said Montgomery. “I couldn’t be prouder of my staff of Emerald Doria, Bianca Duran and Mike Forsythe as well as our student-athletes. This was a season where we took a step forward as a program thanks to the hard work of the players and our coaches. I’m proud of everyone that had a part in our success this year.”

In addition to Montgomery’s award, Louisiana Tech saw three players earn second team all-state honors in pitcher Krystal De La Cruz, outfielder Morgan Turkoly and utility Jazlyn Crowder. Three more Techsters earned honorable mention accolades in first baseman Pauline Tufi, outfielder Ali Galaz and designated player Taria Page.



In his fifth year in Ruston, Montgomery guided Louisiana Tech to a 38-24 record, the program’s first Conference USA Tournament title and its first appearance in an NCAA Regional since 2008. The 38 wins were the most since the 1995 team won 40 while the conference tournament title was only the program’s second ever (2008 Western Athletic Conference).

“Coach Montgomery is so deserving of this award,” said junior captain Katie Smith. “He has remained committed and dedicated to the vision he saw five years ago with this program. That vision definitely surfaced this year. I am confident he will continue to take this program up the ladder. He is resilient, intelligent, and a true teacher of the game. Coach Montgomery has taught us so much about the game of softball, and more importantly, about life.”

Montgomery became the first LA Tech softball coach to win the LSWA State Coach of the Year award since LA Tech Hall of Famer Bill Galloway earned the honor in 1988.

“I don't think anyone is more deserving of this recognition,” said Turkoly, a sophomore team captain. “Coach Montgomery is the most determined and dedicated person and coach I have ever been around. He works so hard to turn this program into a top level team, and we will continue to be better every year under his leadership.”

De La Cruz, a first team all-Conference USA honoree and the C-USA Newcomer of the Year, took home second team honors after posting a 13-4 record and a 2.01 earned run average in the circle. The sophomore from Eagle Pass, Texas became the first LA Tech pitcher to earn first- or second-team honors since Meghan Krieg (second team) in 2009 and only the second since Paige England in 1999.

This marks the second straight year that Turkoly earned second team honors after the Sanger, Texas native batted .370 with 12 doubles, two triples and three home runs while scoring 35 runs and driving in 41 more despite missing 14 games during the season with an injury. Turkoly was named first team all-Conference USA and third team all-NFCA Mideast Region this season.

Crowder, a transfer from Tyler Junior College, took home second team honors after batting .289 with 18 doubles, three triples and six home runs. The Kennedale, Texas native set the LA Tech single season record with 49 runs scored while driving in 27 more. She was a second team all-Conference USA selection this season.

Tufi, the MVP of the Conference USA Tournament, picked up honorable mention honors after batting .265 with 10 doubles, eight home runs and 38 RBI. Galaz, a first team all-CUSA honoree, batted .320 with 11 doubles, three triples and four home runs while scoring 34 runs and driving in 27. Page batted .330 with eight doubles and five home runs while leading Louisiana Tech with 42 RBI.

UL-Lafayette’s DJ Sanders earned the LSWA Hitter of the Year while teammate Alyssa Denham was named the Freshman of the Year. LSU’s Allie Walljasper was the Pitcher of the Year while LSU-Alexandria’s Danelle Billings was the Newcomer of the Year.


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