Softball Coaching Staff
HEAD SOFTBALL COACH
Coach Thomas enters his fifth season as Head Coach for the Lady Commodores Softball Program.
This past season (2021-22), Thomas guided his team to a 39-8 (0.684 winning %) overall and 8-12 in conference play. Two Lady Commodores earned All-Academic honors, eight All-Panhandle Conference, Pitcher, GraceAnne Spears earned Panhandle Conference Pitcher of the Year, Spears also earned FCSAA All-State First-Team.
The 2020-21 season had a record of 23-22 (0.511 winning %) 8-12 in Conference play. The team excelled in the classroom with six players earning NJCAA All-Academic honors. Sophomore outfielder Summer Johnson earned NFCA/NJCAA DI 1st Team All-Region and NFCA NJCAA DI Second Team All-American honors.
During his first season as Head Coach, Thomas led his team to a record of 20-8 (0.714 winning %). Due to the covid-19 virus the 2019-2020 squad was unable to finish their season.
Coach Thomas spent 23 years as Head Coach for the Virginia Tech Softball Program. Since 1996, the first season Virginia Tech fielded a softball team, Thomas has had 17 winning or .500 seasons in 22 campaigns, has led the Hokies to eight NCAA appearances, two ACC titles, and took Tech to the pinnacle of the sport in 2008, the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Hokies narrowly missed out on the NCAA Tournament in 2016 after going up against
one of the toughest schedules in the nation. Tech finished the season ranked 44th
in the RPI with a 29-28 overall mark and a 9-12 record in conference play.
Prior to 2016, the Hokies appeared in four-consecutive NCAA Regionals from 2012-15 and compiled an overall record of 150-88. Tech’s last NCAA Tournament team in 2015 re-wrote the program’s offensive record book, breaking the school record with 65 home runs. That total included a school-record 17 home runs from Kelsey Mericka.
Tech reached its seventh NCAA Tournament in 2014 after finishing third in the ACC with a 19-9 record, its most league wins since joining the conference in 2005. All-ACC performers Lauren Gaskill, Kylie McGoldrick and Katie Smith were coupled with a pitching staff, led by first-year pitching coach Angela Tincher-O’Brien, that posted the second-most strikeouts in the ACC with 362.
Career Highlights while Coaching at VT:
2007 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year
2007, 2008, 2012 & 2013 NFCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year
1999 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year
1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2008 & 2012 VaSID State Coach of the Year
assistant softball coach
Brittany Crowson will enter her first season as Assistant Coach of the Lady Commodores Softball program during the 2023-24 season.
Prior to joining the Lady Commodores, Crowson was a 5th-year year graduate pitcher at the University of Montevallo. Crowson had an 8-8 record with 34 appearances. She was awarded the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team, while working towards her Masters in Exercise Science and plans to graduate in December. During her time there, she was a strength and conditioning graduate assistant.
Crowson spent her junior and senior seasons at Newberry College going 7-6 over 23 appearances while obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Health Science.
Crowson started her college pitching career at Gulf Coast State College in the spring of 2019, recording a 10-4 record with 26 appearances and a career-low of 2.07 ERA. She earned All-Panhandle Conference Team and Florida College Systems Activities Association All-Academic Team. Her 2020 sophomore season was cut short due to Covid-19, but not before obtaining an 8-4 record over 20 appearances.
Coach Crowson is from Bentonville, Arkansas where she attended Bentonville High School and Bentonville West High School. She was a member of the 7A State Softball Championship and State Runner-Up teams. She was also named to the 7A West All-Conference Team.
SPECIAL ADVISOR to the head coach
Bob Thayer enters his fifth season with the Lady Commodores Softball Program. This year Coach Thayer will be the full time Pitching Coach. He was the Pitching Coach under Susan Painter for 14 years starting in 1994. Gulf Coast playe in 7 National Tournaments finishing Runner-Up 3 times.
Coach Thayer is one of the most recognized softball names in the panhandle. He retired in 2008 until 2019 when Head Coach Thomas talked him out of retirement. Thayer pitched over 20 years in tournaments all over the country.
Coach Thayer moved to Panama City, FL in 1979 from Maryland and pitched for the local
team Jim Elliot Dodge, winning two state championships. He later pitched for the Tate
Oilers and came within one game of going to the Natinoals losing 1-0. In 1982, the
Tate Oilers defeated the Clearwater Bombers 3-0 to advance to the finals, finishing
in 2nd place.
Thayer was recruited to play for the Bombers in 1983. That year he gave up two runs after 22 scoreless innings in the Regionals, finishing 2nd back-to-back years. He retired in 1984.
volunteer ASSISTANT coach