Head Softball Coach
2080 Three Rivers Blvd
Poplar Bluff
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Three Rivers College has hired Greenville baseball coach Jeff Null to be its new softball coach.

Null, who has a 112-25 record in three seasons at Greenville and also coaches the Wayne County Lumberjacks in the summer, takes over for Jack Childress after the college decided in June to not renew his contract.

Null has also coached at Naylor and Twin Rivers high schools. In 10 years as a head coach, all of them for baseball, he has a 317-125 record with six district titles.

The Three Rivers Board of Trustees approved the hire Wednesday.

"I think it was a great decision. I think he has everything we were looking for as a coach," said Gene Bess, the Three Rivers athletic director. "We just went after the best possible coach we could get and I think we got a good one."

Null has chosen Van Buren softball coach Terry Pennington as his assistant coach.

"Three Rivers doesn't come open very often," said Null, who is currently competing in the Senior Babe Ruth Midwest Plains Regional in Colorado with the Lumberjacks. "It is set up to be successful. Just got to get in there and get some work done."

With the busy schedule of summer baseball and many players away from campus during the summer break, Null has not yet met with the full team but has spoken with the players over the phone to introduce himself and confirm they would be playing in the fall.

The new staff has a lot of work to do and little time to do it with the fall semester just weeks away.

"Obviously baseball and softball are similar in some ways and different in many," Null said. "I'm going to lean on him early to help me a little bit."

The Lady Raiders went 16-44 last season and lost five sophomores, including Destiny Bolen, who won 13 games pitching and broke the school single season and career home run records.

Currently the team has five returning sophomores and 13 total players on the roster.

"If we come across a couple others that will help us, we'd like to finish with a roster around 18 or so for this year," Null said. "This time of year, signing players for the upcoming year is tough."

In the roughly six weeks that the school did not have a coach, Three Rivers men's assistant basketball coach Brian Bess, along with athletic facilities and equipment manager Willie Hilburn, handled the softball operations.

Null said the schedule is about 75 percent complete.

Daily American Republic 22 Jul 2016: B1