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Whitney Jones
Whitney Jones was named the fifth coach in Appalachian State softball history.
photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics

Appalachian State Hires Whitney Jones to Coach Softball

Whitney Jones, who has competed in the Women’s College World Series as both a student-athlete and a coach, has been named the sixth head coach in App State softball history, Director of Athletics Doug Gillin announced Wednesday.

App State will hold a press conference on Tuesday, May 28 on the fifth floor of the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex to introduce Jones. The press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m., and the event is open to members of the public who would like to attend, with lunch provided afterward.

“We are thrilled to welcome Whitney to the App State family,” Gillin said. “Whitney has been a consistent winner throughout her coaching and playing career. She is a great fit to lead our softball program. Her vision aligns with our core values of academic integrity, competitive excellence, social responsibility and a world-class experience. We are very excited for the future of App State Softball.”

Jones spent the last two years at Ohio State University where she was promoted to associate head coach this past season. In her first year with the Buckeyes in 2023, Jones helped guide Ohio State to stellar offensive numbers, including top three rankings in the Big Ten in batting average (third), slugging percentage (third), on-base percentage (third) and runs scored (third). In 2024, the Buckeyes hit 65 homers, the second-most in the league as of May 21, and posted a .497 slugging percentage.

“First and foremost, I’d like to give all the glory to God,” Jones said. “I am honored to have this opportunity to lead App State Softball alongside the amazing leaders and coaches at this university. I would like to give a special thank you to Chancellor Heather Norris, Doug Gillin and Sarah Strickland for entrusting me with the vision and future of the softball program.

“As head coach of App State Softball, I look forward to continue bringing in and developing exceptional young women to compete for championships on the field, while also developing them to be champions in life. I am excited to get to work, connect with alumni and meet the people that make Boone the special place that it is.”

Before Ohio State, Jones was an instrumental member of a UCF staff that was heralded by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as the Mideast Region’s Coaching Staff of the Year in 2022. Her work with the offense helped the Knights post a 49-14 record, which garnered the No. 16 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, leading to UCF’s first-ever Super Regional appearance.

At UCF, Jones guided the team to top-50 national marks in batting average, runs per game, doubles and on-base percentage. She was also key in the development of Jada Cody, who became one of the best hitters in the country in 2022 when she posted a .361 batting average and drove in 75 runs, the fourth-most in the nation.

Jones got her coaching career started at her alma mater, Washington, serving as a volunteer assistant coach for four years. She worked primarily with the outfielders during her stint with the Huskies, which had four all-region selections and five All-Pac-12 honorees in her tenure.

Her proclivity as a hitting coach served her well at Washington as the Husky outfielders hit over .300 every year she was in Seattle. Her teams made the Super Regionals three times and the Women’s College World Series twice.

She has been a part of 285 wins in her coaching career, including back-to-back 50-win campaigns in her first two years at Washington.

While this will be Jones’ first collegiate head-coaching gig, she enjoyed a successful season as Garfield High School’s head coach in 2017 when her squad posted a 19-8 record and made the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association state championship game. Jones was named the 3A Metro Coach of the Year.

Jones was a four-year letterwinner at Washington from 2011-14 and was a two-time Pac-12 All-Academic performer, while also being named All-Pac-12 honorable mention in 2014. Jones’ teams made a Super Regional appearance every year and made the Women’s College World Series in 2013. Her playing career was highlighted by her 2014 season in which she posted a .341 batting average and slugged five homers.

A 2014 graduate of the University of Washington, Jones has two siblings, Justin and Morgan, and is the daughter of Lorraine and Carl Jones. Her father, Carl, played professional baseball from 1986-88 in the Atlanta Braves organization, reaching as far as AAA Richmond.

Jones earned a master’s degree at Tulsa in 2016 as well as her CSCS certification. While at Tulsa, she was a graduate assistant in the athletic performance department and worked with the football, softball, men’s tennis and women’s golf programs.

She is from Upland, Calif., where she helped lead her high school team to a pair of league championships and was a three-time all-league selection.

What they’re saying about Whitney Jones

University of Washington softball head coach
“Coach Whit is one of Husky Softball’s brightest coaching stars. What she brings tactically as a coach will immediately help App State softball, but what she brings as far as human development will last forever. We are proud to see one of our own leading a program as a head coach. She is more than ready for this opportunity, and the community and student-athletes will love her.”

University of Georgia softball assistant coach
“Whitney has shown a very strong and consistent work ethic over all the years I’ve known and worked with her. She has worked her way up and is more than ready to lead a program. I’m so happy for her and the App State program.”

{Information provided by Appalachian State Athletics}