CHARLESTON, S.C. - Head Softball Coach Shane Winkler announced his resignation on Thursday afternoon after accepting the head coaching position at George Washington University. Winkler's announcement comes following 10 years of service with the CSU Softball program that included a pair of appearances in the Big South Championship Game, as well as the program's first NCAA Tournament berth.
Athletic Director Jeff Barber announced that a national search for Winkler's replacement will commence. Pitching Coach Russell Cooper will serve as the Interim Head Coach throughout the search process.
"We wish Shane nothing but the very best at George Washington," Barber said. "His history here speaks for itself and he has done an outstanding job leading our softball program both on the field and off. The foundation he has laid for our program is healthy and strong and our next coach will be walking into a very positive culture."
Winkler's tenure with the Buccaneers includes becoming just the fourth coach in Big South history to reach 250 career wins as he leaves the Bucs with 261 victories on his record. This includes leading the Bucs to their first Big South Championship game in 24 years, as well as the programs first berth into the NCAA Tournament in 2014.
"I'd like to thank both Hank Small and Jeff Barber for giving me the opportunity to spend the last 10 years as the head softball coach at Charleston Southern," Winkler said. "Charleston Southern has become home over this time and I'm proud to say that I'm leaving it in a much better place than when I came in."
He continued, "I would like to also thank all of my players both past and present. They are the reason I do this and mean the world to me. I believe we have built this program the right way and I've been blessed with many great relationships along the way. I'm excited to see this program continue to grow. The cupboard is stacked for the next few years and I'll be cheering on my girls from a distance. This is both a sad and exciting day for myself and I'm proud to say I'll always be a Buccaneer!"
CSU established program-bests in the 2012 season with 12 Big South wins and 33 overall victories on their way to the Big South Championship Game. It marked the Bucs first appearance in the finals since the 1988 season. CSU defeated the likes of South Carolina and Notre Dame in nonconference play during the season.
The 2014 season will go down in CSU history as Winkler deftly mixed a roster filled with an influx of freshmen talent and senior leadership in the run to the program's first NCAA Tournament. The Bucs went a perfect 4-0 in the postseason and topped Coastal Carolina, 3-1, in the Championship Game to advance to the Knoxville Regional.
During his time at CSU, the Bucs have set or established a number of individual single-season and career records, as well as team single-season records. Among the notable records established include the career hits record being broken twice, the home runs record surpassed five times, the RBI mark twice, and the strikeouts mark twice. In addition, three of Charleston Southern's seven 30-win seasons have come during Winkler's tenure with the program
Hired before the 2008-09 school year, Winkler came to Charleston Southern after three seasons as the assistant coach at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
While at Marshall, Winkler worked mainly with the offense and outfield while assisting with the overall team defense, recruiting, and administrative duties within the program. During his three seasons, the Thundering Herd had a combined record of 91-78. During his time with the Marshall offense, the team broke its homerun record twice, including a combined 52 home runs in 2008 with an overall team batting average of .288. Winkler had the opportunity to coach four players that continued their softball careers in the NPF.
A 2004 graduate from Butler University, Winkler competed for the Bulldog baseball team after also playing at Purdue University and Illinois Central College.