HEAD COACH
Ali Higgs
Email: ahiggs@ju.edu Tel: (904) 256-7361
In 2014, Ali Higgs enters her third season as the head softball coach and eighth overall at JU.

 

In her first season at the helm in 2012, Higgs helped the Dolphins reached the 30-win plateau (31) for the third straight season and earned a spot in the conference tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

As a team, the Dolphins ranked second in the A-Sun in hitting (.278) and third in ERA (2.11). The pitching staff ranked second in strikeouts at 370.

Senior Brittany Eppley, sophomore Karson Tuck, sophomore Codi Kelly, senior Kayla Ouellet, and freshman Ashley Simon each earned A-Sun second team all-conference honors for JU.

Ouellet ended her JU career as the program leader in games played (243), at-bats (794), runs scored (129), hits (249), and stolen bases (92). Senior Amanda Schmidt earned the top spot all-time in RBI (126), while Higgs’ prized pitching pupil, Sarah Sigrest, ended her tenure with top marks in wins (63) and strikeouts (613).

Higgs spent her first five seasons at JU as top assistant working with pitchers, catchers and outfielders. In her time, she helped the JU pitching staff drop its overall earned from 2.97 to 1.47 before getting promoted.

In 2011, the Dolphins posted a school-record 44 win en route to winning the A-Sun regular season and tournament title for the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth. JU broke team records for ERA (1.48) and shutouts (19). The ERA for her pitchers also ranked as high as third nationally before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Sigrest received conference Pitcher of the Year honors by setting single-season records in wins (27), ERA (1.10), shutouts (10) and strikeouts (208). She also posted 12 wins in her final 13 appearances before the NCAA Tournament to earn second team Louisville Slugger/NFCA all-region honors alongside sophomore Olivia Kline.

Kline, who posted a personal-best 14 wins in the circle, and Sigrest also picked up first team all-conference honors in the process.

In 2010, senior Ashley Iveson and freshman Olivia Kline each produced solid seasons for the Dolphins in under Higgs’ tutelage.

Iveson led the pitching staff with a career best 16 wins and 184 strikeouts in 157.2 innings to receive second team all-conference honors. She set single-season records in wins, double-digit strikeout games (6) and strikeouts per contest (8.17). Iveson also finished her four-year career as the all-time leader in strikeouts per game with a 6.04 average.

Kline got all-freshman honors after recording an 0.81 ERA in A-Sun play. She also finished the year with a JU single-season record 1.73 ERA, while tallying a 10-7 record and 75 strikeouts. Kline also did not allow an earned run in 27.2 relief innings during the final stretch of the season.

In 2009, the Dolphins had the second highest win total in school history and increased their strikeout total from the 2008 season to earn a spot in the A-Sun Tournament. Under Higgs guidance, Sigrest had a solid freshman season after leading the Dolphins in wins (12), ERA (2.35) and strikeouts (134). posted a recorded 10 wins and 100 strikeouts in the circle, while also recording a 1.61 ERA with 52 strikeouts in the final 15 appearances of the season.

During the 2008 season, the JU pitching staff lowered its overall ERA by nearly two runs and improved on every category from the 2007 season. The Dolphins also saw significant improvement in doubles, triples, walks and wild pitches allowed.

Senior Shannon Jensen paced the staff with 10 wins, which is the fifth-highest single-season tally in program history. She also posted four saves to give her the career mark in the JU record book.

Freshman Jackie Samuels sported the best ERA on the staff and earned six wins, including a victory over Florida State to earn her Seminole Classic all-tournament honors. Iveson added seven complete games and earned the win against Minnesota in 2008.

Under her guidance in 2007, the Dolphins were able to rotate three different pitchers who gave them a chance to win every time they took the circle. Iveson threw a complete game shutout in the win over UNC-Greensboro and allowed only one hit over 7.2 innings to softball powerhouse North Carolina.

Prior to JU, Higgs spent 2005 as a pitching coach for the Torrens Valley Red Sox of the South Australia Softball Association in Adelaide, Australia.

Higgs, who also played for the Redsox's Team A at the time, coached the grade B, C and under-19 pitching staffs in Sept. 2005. She was responsible for daily pitching workouts and overall pitching instruction, while also calling pitches during competitions. She coordinated the overall instruction and development of all athletes both offensively and defensively. Higgs also directed multiple club clinics, while organizing private and team pitching lessons several times a week.

While coaching with Torrens Valley, Higgs was also a co-head coach in the physical education department at Saint Peters Collegiate Girls School in Adelaide, Australia. She was responsible for all daily coaching duties as lead instructor for the middle school softball and elementary tee-ball teams. She also helped organize team travel and roster requirements with local competition.

Higgs began sharing her softball knowledge as a camp instructor at the Ripken Baseball Academy in Aberdeen, Md., during the summer of 2005. She was responsible for leading and assisting softball instruction in all facets of the game. Higgs mentored pitchers of all ages, while also helping organize the daily camp agenda for the areas of instruction to be covered.

In her collegiate career, Higgs was a four-year letterwinner at Iona College from 2002-2005 as a pitcher. She finished her career in the top 10 in every offensive category and in the top five of every pitching category. Higgs is the all-time leader in at-bats (522) and hits (164, tied), while ranking second in home runs with 17. In the circle, she holds the program record for appearances (96), victories (51), ERA (1.34), strikeouts (512) and shutouts (13). Higgs was also a two-time Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Northeast Region first team selection and earned 2004 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year accolades. She was inducted into the Iona College Hall of Fame in the spring of 2011.

After her outstanding collegiate career, she earned a professional contract with the New York Juggernaut of the National Professional Fast pitch league in 2005. In her first appearance, she fanned two-time gold medalist Amanda Freed to secure her first professional victory. In 2006, she signed with the Philadelphia Force, but didn't see any action due to injury.

Higgs graduated cum laude from Iona in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and obtained her master's of business administration from Jacksonville University in May 2009.


Staff Directory
SOFTBALL
Jennifer Steele Head Coach
Dan Sperl Assistant Coach
Amanda Haverman Assistant Coach