Greenville, S.C. -- Wally King, who spent last season as an assistant coach at the University of South Florida, and former Presbyterian College standout and Coker College assistant coach Shelby Petik have joined the Furman softball coaching staff, it was announced on Monday by Paladin head coach Kyle Jamieson.
"I'm pleased to announce the addition of Wally and Shelby to our staff," said Jamieson, the 2017 Southern Conference Coach of the Year. "I look forward to them bringing new eyes, new voices and new ideas to our program as we strive to keep building Paladin softball."
King, a veteran coach with more than 20 years of experience, helped lead the USF Bulls to a 32-24 overall record and 9-8 mark in the American Athletic Conference last season after serving as head coach at Division II Ferris State in 2016, where he guided the Bulldogs to a 36-18 and the school's first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) tournament appearance in three years. Ferris State's 36 wins in King's lone season in charge represented a 20-win improvement from 2015.
"Wally and I worked together previously and we've always hoped that a possible opportunity would arise to be back together someday," said Jamieson. "Wally is well known in softball circles as one of the best trainers in the game and our athletes will benefit greatly from his knowledge. He was a great men's fastpitch player and has had success at every level he has coached. To bring in someone with his experience and talent is an exceptional hire for our program."
Prior to his time at Ferris State, King served as the Diamonds Sports Training National Director of Coach & Player Development in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he acted as college coach liaison for player contact, oversaw the training of athletes and handled all softball-related duties.
King was the associate head softball coach at Syracuse from 2008-13, helping to guide the Orange to four straight 30-win seasons and consecutive Big East Conference Championship bids. Syracuse made its deepest postseason run ever in 2012 as the Orange advanced to the NCAA Regional finals and defeated its highest nationally-ranked opponent ever with a 1-0 victory against second-ranked Arizona State in the NCAA Tournament. SU finished the year listed among the nation's top 25-ranked teams for the first time.
King also brings an extensive playing background with two of the world's top five teams in a fastpitch softball career that spanned from 1985-2003. Between 1998 and 2002, King was the starting centerfielder for the Midland Explorers, the fourth-ranked team in the world, and he spent 2003 with the third-ranked Waterloo Hallman Twins. He was a first-team All-American, as well as state and national tournament MVP with the Kamphuis Pipeline in 1997. In 1996, King helped lead the Midland Metros to the national championship.
A former prep standout at Forest Hills Central High School, King played collegiate baseball for Hope College from 1985-88 where he earned bachelor's degrees in both sociology and psychology. He later earned his master's degree in social work from Grand Valley State University in 1994.
Petik began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Presbyterian in 2015 before helping NCAA Division II Coker to a 41-17 overall record and 13-7 mark in Conference Carolinas play in 2016 as an assistant coach.
"Shelby had a decorated career as a Division I player at Presbyterian, and she has played a big part in the improvement Coach McCall has brought to the Coker program," according to Jamieson. "Her dad is a longtime baseball coach, she grew up around the baseball field and has a passion for the game. She is young, energetic and hungry for the opportunity at this level. I look forward to her having a great ability to connect with our players on and off the field."
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Petik was a four-year standout on the diamond for the Blue Hose and led Presbyterian to its first appearance in the Big South Softball Championship in 2015 en route to garnering All-Big South Conference honors. She played in all 207 games during her career in Clinton, S.C., and finished her career as PC's all-time leader in doubles (39), home runs (24), total bases (294) and walks (85).
A multi-time Big South Conference Player of the Week selection, Petik became the first player in Blue Hose history to reach the century mark in hits (179), RBI (122) and runs (100).
Petik graduated from Presbyterian in 2015 with a degree in psychology and a minor in athletic coaching.
King and Petik replaced coaches Sandra Smith and Courtney Breault, who left the program this summer to pursue new career opportunities.
"I'd like to thank Courtney Breault and Sandra Smith for all they have done for our program," Jamieson said on Monday. "They were instrumental in bringing Furman softball from the bottom of the conference to the top of the conference. They made huge impacts on our kids lives on and off the field, and every player that has been through our program has a lifelong friend and mentor in them. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors."
Furman is set to return seven position players and its top two pitchers next season from a 2017 squad that posted a 31-23 record and claimed a share of the Southern Conference regular season title with an 11-6 conference mark. The list of returnees is highlighted by SoCon Pitcher of the Year Lindsey Bert, SoCon Freshman of the Year Casey Bigham and first team All-SoCon shortstop Brittany Houston.
Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information