Tide Softball Staff Again Region Best

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But what if it just appears not to be broken? What if it isn't working exactly the way it should? That may be the way Patrick Murphy looked at his Alabama softball coaching staff, because he is going to change it.

Patrick Murphy made big news this spring when he first announced he was leaving Alabama for LSU, then after consideration decided to stay with the Crimson Tide. In the few days of uncertainty, it couldn't help but be noticed that although Murphy had planned to take Assistant Coach Alyson Habetz with him to Baton Rouge (and brought her back with him to Tuscaloosa), another assistant wasn't involved.

Later Murphy confirmed that Assistant Coach Vann Studemann, who had been in charge of pitchers, would not be a part of his next staff.

Studemann has landed on her feet. She's the new head coach at Mississippi State.

Murphy has not yet named a replacement for Studemann.

One thing is clear. The Murphy staff with Habetz and Studemann has been a good one. In fact, the staff has been named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) South Region Coaching Staff of the Year, as announced by the organization on Wednesday. Somewhat ironically, the announcement came from Starkville, home of Mississippi State.

This year's South region honor marks the fourth time in as many years that the Alabama coaching staff has won the award and the seventh overall under Murphy. The Crimson Tide finished 53-11 overall and 19-6 in Southeastern Conference play.

After winning its second-consecutive SEC regular-season championship, Alabama rolled through the post-season and into its seventh WCWS in program history. The Crimson Tide went 3-0 in regional action and fought back from a game down to win the super regional at home against Stanford. Alabama ended its season in the WCWS semi-finals after going 2-2.

The Crimson Tide had four players earn 2011 Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-American honors. Senior Kelsi Dunne (Port Orange, Fla.), sophomore Kayla Braud (Eugene, Ore.) and freshman Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) earned first-team accolades while senior Whitney Larsen (Vestavia Hills, Ala.) garnered second-team honors.

The four NFCA All-Americans equals the most in a single season in school history, tying the mark set in 2001 and 2008. The three first-team selections tie the most in school history with the trio in 2008.

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