East Carolina Softball



Courtney Oliver
Head Coach

Courtney Oliver, a five-time NCAA Regional participant as an assistant coach, enters her fourth season as head coach of the East Carolina softball program in 2019. Oliver's hiring made her the fifth head coach in ECU softball history.
The 2018 season saw Oliver welcome the nation’s 22nd-ranked recruiting class to Pirate Nation and the group paid immediate dividends while gaining valuable experience against the 29th-toughest schedule nationally.
Oliver mentored freshman Erin Poepping who earned American Athletic Conference All-Freshman Team accolades after accruing a 13-16 record with a 3.26 earned run average and 95 strikeouts in 165.1 innings pitched. Classmate and outfielder Tyler King paced the squad with a .282 batting average and 53 hits while adding six doubles, two triples and six stolen bases.
ECU picked up some signature wins, including seven over 2018 NCAA Regional qualifiers Ohio, JMU (twice), Wichita State, USF (twice) and Houston. The Pirates were the only team to hand eventual AAC regular season champion USF a series loss in conference play. ECU also notched wins over Atlantic Coast Conference members NC State and Duke.
Under Oliver’s watch, the program continued its resurgence in 2017. The Pirates improved their win total by three from the previous season and picked up their first-ever American Athletic Conference tournament victory. ECU also notched its first-ever AAC all-conference selection when senior pitcher Lydia Ritchie was named to the Second Team.
The Pirates developed into one of the most powerful offensive teams in the nation in 2017, belting a school and American Conference single-season record 64 home runs to go along with 64 doubles. ECU also topped the AAC in slugging percentage and walks drawn while ranking second in runs scored, RBI, doubles and total bases.
In terms of notable victories, the Pirates picked up wins over Fordham (NCAA Regional participant), Longwood (NCAA Regional participant), Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Texas Tech.
In her first season at the helm, Oliver guided the Pirates to a 23-31 record - a seven-win improvement from the previous season. Her impact on the pitching staff was immediately felt as junior Lydia Ritchie posted a 2.67 earned run average to go along with 13 complete games, six complete game shutouts and 178 strikeouts. Additionally, she began an overhaul of the offense which saw two ECU batters hit over .300 after the team did not feature a .300 hitter during the 2015 campaign.
Oliver brings seven years of NCAA Division I coaching experience to ECU after having spent three years at NC State, with stops at Hofstra, Boston and Monmouth University along the way. In her previous positions, Oliver has gained valuable experience as a pitching and infield coach while also planning and executing practices, serving as a recruiting coordinator, overseeing the team budget, travel, academic support and alumni relations.
Under Oliver's tutelage, the 2015 NC State pitching staff owned a team ERA of 2.61 to rank 34th in the nation and second in the ACC. NC State pitchers did their job in the circle fanning 441 batters for second in the conference. Additionally, the Wolfpack struck out 94 batters looking to lead the league.
The Swansea, Mass., native helped NC State to its first-ever Top-25 finish as the Wolfpack concluded the 2015 season at No. 19 in the final polls after winning the NCAA Regional en route to an appearance in the University of Oregon Super Regional.
In her last season with the Wolfpack, Oliver boasted a pair of All-Southeast Region selections in right-handed pitcher Emily Weiman and shortstop Renada Davis. With Oliver's instruction, Weiman was named ACC Pitcher of the Year in 2013 as well as First Team All-ACC in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The duo went on to be drafted by the 2015 National Pro Fastpitch.
In her three years at NC State, Oliver helped Weiman flourish in the circle as she earned First Team All-ACC honors on three occasions. Weiman also broke the school record for most complete game shutouts in a single season with 12 during the 2014 season. That total was also the most in the ACC and sixth-best in the NCAA. In 2013, Weiman set new school records in wins (33), appearances (54), starts (52), complete games (42) and innings pitched (323.1). The 33 victories also led the ACC.
Oliver has coached her conference's Pitcher of the Year in four consecutive years (2010-2013). In 2010, as the assistant coach at Boston University, Oliver took Cassidi Hardy under her wing and molded her into the America East Pitcher of the Year. She was also instrumental in April Setterlund's America East Player of the Year selection as well as an NFCA First Team All-America nod. That year, she helped the Terriers win the America East Championship as well as an appearance in the NCAA Regional.
Her stint at Boston University was followed by two years of service as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Hofstra University. While at Hofstra, Oliver worked with Olivia Galati who garnered Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year honors in 2011 and 2012. Galati went on to earn NFCA First Team All-America honors in 2012, while leading her team to the CAA title with an appearance in the 2012 Super Regionals.
Oliver was an accomplished pitcher and designated player at Hofstra from 2004-08 where she was a four-time NCAA Regional participant. She was part of the Pride as they completed their NCAA-record run of 11 consecutive conference championships. She and her teammates won four conference championships and advanced to two NCAA regional finals, becoming the winningest class in school history.
Oliver finished her collegiate career as a two-time First Team All-CAA player and a two-time All-CAA Tournament Team selection. As a senior, she had the most RBIs (27) in conference games and led the league with a 0.24 ERA to go along with a 5-0 record in CAA games. Overall, she had 40 RBIs with a 10-3 mark, while posting a 1.12 ERA.
She ranks in the school's Top 10 in RBIs (117) and career strikeouts (258). During her four years at Hofstra, Oliver collected 32 career wins with a pair of no-hitters.
Oliver earned both her bachelor's degree in business administration and master's degree in communications from Hofstra.

Jess Hirschbuhl
Assistant Coach

Jess Hirschbuhl, a former standout second/third baseman at Hofstra, enters her fourth season with the East Carolina softball program in 2019. 
Hirschbuhl arrived at ECU after working as the head trainer at Orangetheory Fitness where she managed and evaluated the training staff, while demonstrating and coaching clients in functional, corrective and effective high intensity interval training. Additionally she assisted with the office responsibilities and scheduling.
Prior to her employment at Orangetheory Fitness, Hirschbuhl interned with the New York Yankees as a strength coach where she created strength programs for athletes at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. With the Yankees, she also provided feedback on exercise techniques and proper form during observation and coaching throughout the training sessions. As a strength coach intern, Hirschbuhl was responsible for conducting athletic performance assessments and adjusting training programs as necessary.
Hirschbuhl also owns three years of softball coaching experience after coaching the 16u Softball Team in Farmingdale, N.Y., from 2010 -- 2013. She served as the head coach and pitching coach while instructing athletes on fundamental and advanced techniques. At the helm, Hirschbuhl created sport-specific training programs for athletes to improve strength, fitness and athletic performance.
From 2009 -- 2013, Hirschbuhl assisted at the Hofstra Softball Clinics and followed that experience working at the NC State Softball Camps. While working camps and clinics, Hirschbuhl coached both offensive and defensive strategy while emphasizing the use of proper mechanics for both fundamental and advanced levels.
As a student-athlete at Hofstra, Hirschbuhl earned First Team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors in 2011 after batting .311 on the year with 26 RBIs. A Colonial Athletic Association All-Tournament Team selection, Hirschbuhl lead the Pride to a 46-13 record in her senior year as Hofstra advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals and concluded the year ranked 25th in the USA Today/NFCA Poll.
Hirschbuhl graduated from Hofstra in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and completed her master's degree the following year in sports science.

Ellie Cooper
Assistant Coach

Ellie Cooper, who was a key member of the 2018 national champion Florida State softball program as a graduate assistant coach, has joined the ECU softball coaching staff as an assistant coach.
While with the Seminoles in a coaching capacity, Cooper manned the first base box while working with hitters on transfers, foot work, glove work and receiving as well as assisting with the offensive game plan and opponent scouting. Florida State won its first-ever national title with six-straight wins in the 2018 Women's College World Series (WCWS), including two over Washington in the best of three championship.
As a team captain for Florida State during her playing days, Cooper guided the Seminoles to the WCWS twice as well as four super regional appearances. FSU won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles all four years of her collegiate career.
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Cooper also has international experience on her resume as a member and captain of the New Zealand National Team. She helped the squad to a pair of Junior World Championship bids with top-four and top-six finishes as well as four Women's World Championship appearances with a top-eight result in 2016.
Cooper hails from a strong softball family as her father Russell is currently the assistant coach at Charleston Southern University and is the pitching coach for the Canadian National Team. He has played and coached softball for over 40 years, beginning with winning six national championships in three different age groups as a teenage player in New Zealand. He was an All-American selection at the men's ASA national tournament in 1987 and a member of the 1988 men's national training squad in New Zealand.

Maggie Hawkins
Director of Operations

Maggie Hawkins was named director of operations for the ECU softball program in September of 2018.

Hawkins most recently worked at The Performance Academy (TPA) in nearby Apex as Director of Softball. She was responsible for overseeing and managing all TPA affiliated softball teams as well as directing, designing and implementing all softball events run through the facility.
After graduating from NC State in 2016, Hawkins worked as a graduate assistant coach for the Wolfpack and provided assistance to the athletics communications office – including working the NCAA Raleigh baseball Regional.
As a player, Hawkins was a standout at Hofstra from 2013-14 before transferring to NC State to complete her collegiate career. She earned Colonial Athletic Association All-Freshman Team accolades in 2013 before garnering CAA First-Team and NFCA First-Team All-Northeast Region honors as a sophomore. Hawkins was a key member of the Wolfpack's run to the NCAA Eugene Super Regional in 2015, hitting the walkoff home run against Fordham in the bottom of the seventh that clinched the regional championship in Harrisonburg, Va.