JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After seven seasons in the dugout in assistant and associate coaching roles, Jeff Conrad has been named the next head coach of the North Florida softball program as announced by Director of Athletics Nick Morrow Friday, July 1. 

“I’m honored, humbled and thrilled to be given the chance to lead UNF softball,” head coach Jeff Conrad said. “I’d like to thank Coach Moon and Marcie [Higgs] for bringing me to UNF seven years ago. I’d also like to thank the executive committee, led by Director of Athletics, Nick Morrow, and everyone involved in the hiring process for entrusting me with this incredible opportunity. I’m so grateful to all the players of the past, present and future for their unwavering support. Your belief in what we’re building here fuels me on a daily basis. Our goals are in sight, but yet to be completed. Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to recognize my colleagues and mentors in the coaching profession. I wouldn’t be here without your support and willingness to always answer the phone. SWOOP!”

Conrad assumed the role of interim head coach June 10 after longtime head coach Marcie Higgs announced her resignation from the position just days earlier. A nationwide search was conducted in the interim period before Conrad was elevated to the head position. 

“I am so happy for Jeff and our softball program,” Director of Athletics Nick Morrow said. “Jeff has been a loyal assistant to Coach Marcie Higgs for seven years and played an integral part in the progression of the UNF softball program. I look forward to supporting Jeff and the entire UNF softball team in building on the record-breaking 2022 season.”

North Florida wasn’t Conrad’s first stop in the state of Florida as he arrived in Jacksonville after spending 2014-15 at UCF as a volunteer assistant coach. With the Knights, Conrad helped elevate UCF to a program single-season batting average record of .292. During the ’15 campaign, UCF won the American Athletic Conference Regular Season and AAC Tournament Titles as the program reeled in 50 wins. The historic season helped Conrad share National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors. 

No stranger to the #BirdsofClay, Conrad joined the UNF staff as an assistant coach in 2015, a role he held until being elevated to the team’s associate head coach in 2018. Over his seven seasons in the Navy and Gray, Conrad has been charged primarily as the hitting coach, working heavily with the infielders. He’s also taken on duties as the recruiting coordinator, equipment manager and travel coordinator, while also working with day-to-day tasks such as practice planning and scouting. 

Conrad and UNF are coming off one of the program’s best seasons to date, having won 42 games, tying a program Division-I era record. UNF rattled off a DI-era 13-game winning streak, a mark aided by another program record in 56-consecutive scoreless innings pitched. 

All told, UNF has seen 14 ASUN All-Conference honorees, nine all-freshman picks, one ASUN Defensive Player of the Year honor, three ASUN Scholar-Athletes of the Year and one UNF Female Athlete of the Year laurel since Conrad has arrived in Jacksonville. 

Conrad assisted in the development of some of the best to play for UNF softball. Navia Penrod (2016-19) went on to set the ASUN Conference and UNF all-time career hits record with 285, while also earning two ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards and a 2017 NFCA All-Region Third Team selection. Outfielder Dominica Cocuzza finished her tenure in 2019, concluding her career with a DI-era program record, 128 RBI. 

2017 ASUN Defensive Player of the Year Kayla McGory joined Penrod and Cocuzza on the All-ASUN First Team before going on to finish her UNF career as the DI-era program record holder in games played (224), games started (221), walks (99) and assists (342). 

Original Story HERE.