Sports

College Update: Tumwater High grad Ashley Andrews joins UW softball coaching staff after playing career at Tennessee

Ashley Andrews grew up a Washington Huskies fan who took her softball talents to the Southeastern Conference as a four-year starter at Tennessee, leading the Volunteers to two Women’s College World Series berths as a catcher and shortstop.

While her playing days ended in 2012, Andrews, a 2008 Tumwater High graduate who was an all-state fastpitch and basketball player, is now a Husky as an assistant coach.

“I’m proud to wear the purple and gold,” she said.

Just days after last week’s official announcement that Andrews joined coach Heather Tarr’s staff, she was in Southern California on her first recruiting trip. She also was getting a peek at UW’s incoming freshmen.

“The experience of that was good for me,” said Andrews, who will work with catchers and outfielders. “I really enjoyed it.”

Andrews, 24, was a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 2012-13 under her co-head coaches – Ralph and Karen Weekly (Ralph coached at Pacific Lutheran from 1986-94, winning two NAIA national titles) – while finishing her master’s in sports psychology.

At Tennessee, Andrews started 220 games and was a career .251 hitter following a high school career that included a Class 3A state fastpitch title (2006) and 2A state title game appearance in basketball (2007).

The past two years was Andrews’ first taste of coaching, solidifying her decision to pursue that path after college. She called it a “good learning experience” for starting a new chapter in her softball career.

“That provided me with a lot of opportunities, as well,” she said. “I was so thankful they let me stay on. I learned a ton from them.”

GNAC TOURNEY MOVES

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will leave Saint Martin’s Marcus Pavilion in favor of Montana State-Billings in 2015, the conference announced.

SMU has hosted the first three GNAC tournaments after the university was awarded it in 2011-12. SMU was not in the running to host the event next year.

Last season, the Saint Martin’s women became the first Saints team to qualify for the tournament on their home floor during the GNAC’s three-year run in Lacey.

The 2015 tournament begins March 4 for the women and March 5 for the men.

EXTRA POINTS

Evergreen’s men’s soccer and volleyball teams were projected to finish fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, according to the conference’s coaches preseason polls. The Geoducks were projected to finish 10th in women’s soccer. ... Saint Martin’s women’s basketball coach Tim Healy finalized his 2014-15 recruiting class with Hawaii Pacific transfer Hannah Reynolds (Klamath Falls, Oregon), Kendall Foster (Auburn Riverside High) and Elin Johansson (Sweden). “They’re joining a veteran team, but each should contribute right away and be strong additions,” Healy said. The Saints graduated just two seniors off its 2013-14 team that went 19-11.

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