USM names new softball head coach

USM names new softball head coach

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Over the past nine seasons, Brian Levin never has had a softball finish the year with a losing record.

The University of Southern Mississippi is banking on Levin’s continued success.

USM athletic director Jeremy McClain announced Friday afternoon that Levin had been hired as the program’s ninth softball coach.

McClain will replace Wendy Hogue, who resigned after five seasons with the Lady Eagles to take over as Petal High School’s softball coach.

“During the search process it became very clear that Brian Levin was the right person at the right time to lead our softball program,” McClain said in a statement. “His experience and record of success speaks for (themselves), and his student-athlete-centered focus aligns perfectly with the culture we are striving for at Southern Miss.

“I am excited for the future of our softball program and for the young ladies who will benefit from Brian’s leadership.”

Levin said he liked what he saw at USM.

"(Wife) Michelle and I are so excited to a part of the Southern Miss family,” Levin said in statement. “I want to thank Jeremy and the senior staff in the athletic department for selecting me to lead the softball program into the future. I embrace the challenge of competing in one of the top conferences in the country. I look forward to meeting the team and building relationships that will last long past their playing days.

“After visiting the campus, it was evident the value that the university puts on the athletic department, and how the community of Hattiesburg supports Southern Miss athletics. I am looking forward to getting on campus and getting to work."

Levin (pronounced Leh-VANN) spent the past three seasons at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., becoming the first coach to win at least 25 games in three consecutive seasons since the program moved to Division I in 1998.

The Bruins made the Ohio Valley Conference postseason twice in his three years after never having made the tournament before. Levin’s Bruins went 91-70, the most wins at Belmont in a three-year span.

Prior to that, he spent six years at Division II University of Missouri-St. Louis, leading the Tritons to victory 75 percent of the time (249-83). The winning percentage jumped to an .857 winning percentage (150-25) over his final three season at UMSL.

Levin led the Tritons to four, Division II NCAA Tournament berths (2013-16), including Super Regional appearances in 2014 and 2015. During that stretch, UMSL won three consecutive, Great Lakes Valley Conference tournaments.

In his final season with UMSL, the Tritons finished sixth in the nation, posting a 53-9 record. UMSL led the nation in fielding percentage.

Levin was named GLVC Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2015.

At UMSL, Levin had eight All-America honorees – including four-time All-American and 2016 graduate Hannah Perryman – 21 All-Region selections and 37 All-GLVC distinction.

Perryman set NCAA Division II career records for perfect games (nine) and strikeouts (1,725). Her 567 strikeouts as a senior also set an NCAA Division II single-season standard.

In April, Perryman became the first NCAA Division II player ever drafted by the National Professional Fastpitch (NPF) league, selected No. 37 overall by the Akron (Ohio) Racers.

He also completed three seasons as field manager of the Akron Racers of the NPF. Levin has coached nine All-NPF selections as was named to the 2014 NPF Coaching Staff of the Year.

Levin played collegiate football and baseball at Peru State College (Neb.), where he was a two-time all-conference player. He finished his baseball career with a .344 batting averaging and moved on to play fast-pitch softball in southeast Nebraska and semi-professional baseball in the St. Louis area.

Levin also earned All-America honors in football as a place-kicker. Levin spent 20 years in the military, including 15 stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., with the 5th Special Forces Group. Among his responsibilities, Levin organized and trained combat forces. While stationed at Fort Campbell, he was an active volunteer coach for football, baseball and softball at Fort Campbell High School.

Levin is married to the former Michelle Morgan and has two children, Alisha and Matthew. Alisha played softball for Providence College, while Matthew played football at the University of Dubuque.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Peru State College in 1988 and a master’s degree from Northcentral University in San Diego, Calif., sports management and leadership in 2009.

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