Former University of Florida standout and accomplished collegiate assistant Beth McClendon has been named as the new Florida International University head softball coach, Athletic Director Pete Garcia announced today.
“Beth McClendon will be a great asset to FIU softball. We are very excited to have someone with such an outstanding coaching and playing background to lead our program,” said Garcia.
For the last five seasons, McClendon has been at the University of Houston, helping the Cougars to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances while concentrating on coaching a UH pitching staff that was statistically ranked as one of the best in the nation.
This past season, Houston not only won the Conference USA championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, but the pitching staff also ranked 15th national in ERA (1.66) and 23rd in strikeouts per seven innings (7.31) en route to a 44-18 overall record.
McClendon was the program’s recruiting coordinator and one of her recruits, Angel Shamblin, was a two time C-USA Pitcher of the Year and an All-South Region selection, while seven other Cougar hurlers received All-Conference USA honors.
Prior to her stint at Houston, McClendon began her coaching career as an assistant at Stetson University from 2000-2002. Definitely leaving her mark on the Hatters softball program, she helped lead them to an Atlantic Sun Conference regular season tri-championship in 2001. McClendon’s pitchers also set school records for wins (45), shutouts (20), strikeouts (385) and strikeouts per seven innings (6.70).
McClendon inherits a Golden Panthers program that finished 22-35 in 2007. Since the program’s inception in 1998; however, FIU has posted a 326-295 overall record (.525) and appeared in the 2003 NCAA Regional Tournament.
“I am extremely grateful to both Pete Garcia and Julie Berg for the opportunity to coach at FIU. I am happy to return home to the state of Florida and I’m excited to be part of a growing athletic program. The future is bright for FIU softball,” McClendon said.
“It was a difficult decision to leave the University of Houston and the great program we have worked to build, but I truly appreciate the support of both Dave Maggard and Kyla Holas as they helped me make this jump and have supported me throughout my entire time at UH. I am leaving behind a great group of student-athletes, staff and administration, and I will always cherish my time with them, but I am ready and excited to face the challenges that lay ahead at FIU and I am proud to be a Golden Panther.”
A four-year letterwinner at the University of Florida, McClendon still holds Gator records with 60 career wins and 716 innings pitched. She was a member of UF’s 1998 Southeastern Conference regular season championship team as the squad’s No. 1 pitcher who posted 20-win seasons in each of her last two years.
As a student-athlete, McClendon excelled in the classroom where she received numerous academic awards. She was an NFCA Scholar-Athlete (1997-2000), a member of the All-SEC Academic Team (1998-2000), a GTE Academic Third-Team All-American (2000), a two-time SEC Pitcher of the Week and recipient of the SEC's H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award.
McClendon earned a bachelor’s degree in health sciences in occupational therapy from UF in 2000.