Emily Church, who was an integral part of back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championships while a member of the Jacksonville State University softball team, is the new assistant softball coach at East Central Community College in Decatur.
Church joins the staff of Eric Neel as he begins his first year as head coach of the Lady Warrior program.
Neel said that Church will work with the catchers and pitchers, as well as help with outfielders and recruiting.
"Emily Church is a great hire for East Central Community College softball," said Neel, who began his duties July 1. "Her energy, excellent knowledge as a player, eagerness to always lead, and winning attitude will benefit our program tremendously."
A native of Ragland, Ala., Church played for Neel when he was the head coach at Darton State Community College in Albany, Ga., in 2014. Together, they led the Lady Cavaliers to a National Junior College Athletic Association Region 17 Championship and a trip to the NJCAA Division I Softball National Championship Tournament. Church led the state of Georgia that season in home runs, RBI, and batting average.
The following season, Church played for Southern Union Community College in Wadley, Ala., and again led the state in home runs, RBI, and batting average.
She then took her talents to Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala., where in 2016 she was First-Team All-Newcomer and All-Conference and led the Ohio Valley Conference in home runs and RBI. The NCAA Division I Lady Gamecocks won the OVC title in 2016 and 2017.
Church prepped at Ragland High School where she was part of three straight state championships. She led the state in home runs in 2010 and 2011, and broke the Alabama high school RBI record in 2010.
She most recently served as the hitting and catching coach, co-head junior varsity coach, and assistant varsity coach at Moody High School in Alabama in 2018 while completing her teaching internship at Iola Roberts Elementary School in Pell City.
Church also coaches and provides instruction for travel softball teams.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that Coach Neel has given me," commented Church. "My plan was to be at the high school level this year and work my way to the college level, but Coach Neel believed enough in me to give me this opportunity. I've been around him as a player and love the way he coaches, and I have based my coaching philosophy on his. When he reached out to me about this opportunity, I jumped on it. I'm beyond blessed that he believes enough in me to be his assistant coach at East Central Community College."
She received her bachelor's degree in education from Jacksonville State in 2018.