Tobin Echo-Hawk enters her fourth season at UTEP and ninth overall as a head coach. She was announced as the head coach of the program on June 20, 2013.
Echo-Hawk completed her third and most successful season at the helm for UTEP, as she directed the Miners to their first winning conference record (13-11) in program history and first appearance in the Conference USA Tournament since the 2010 campaign. Echo-Hawk won her 200th game as a head coach after UTEP rallied to defeat FIU, 5-4, on May 11 in the first round of the conference tourney. The win was also first postseason victory since the 2009 campaign. The Miners were the no. 6 seed in the eight-team field after being picked to finish ninth in the preseason polls.
UTEP finished the 2016 season with a 23-32 record, the most wins since 2010. The Miners set school records in multiple statistical categories, as they finished with the best batting average (.307) in school history, most hits (451), most assists (533), most double plays turned (30) and highest fielding percentage (.962). UTEP’s slugging percentage (.476) is second best, while its 85 doubles and 699 total bases are also second most. The Miners hit 51 home runs, the fourth most in school annals, and most since the 2012 campaign. The defense also committed 61 errors, the third fewest in program history. UTEP’s .55 double plays per game ranked no. 1 in C-USA and seventh nationally, while its doubles per game (1.55) ranked first in conference and 29th nationally. The Miners’ team batting average ranked third in conference and no. 48 nationally, while their home runs per game (.93) ranked second in C-USA and 58th nationally.
Echo-Hawk mentored the 2016 C-USA Player of the Year in sophomore Courtney Clayton. Clayton ranked in the top 10 in multiple categories, as her batting average (.416) ranked no. 2 in C-USA (46th nationally) and her 21 doubles led the league. Clayton broke the program single-season record in hits (79) and doubles. Clayton is the first Miner to win the prestigious award since 2012 (Camilla Carrera) and the fifth sophomore to be named player of the year in conference history. Clayton was named to the C-USA All-Academic team and CoSIDA Academic All-District team. Clayton was also named All-C-USA first team and NFCA All-Region South third team.
Junior Kiki Pepi was named All-C-USA second team in 2016. Pepi broke the single-season school record with 134 assists, while her nine assists during a 2-1 win at FIU broke a single-game program record.
After a 0-3 start in conference play, Echo-Hawk’s Miners won their next eight league games (the most in school history) after sweeping LA Tech, winning all three at FIU and defeating UTSA in the first two games of a three-game set.
In 2016, UTEP tossed three shutouts. The highlight was when junior Kaitlin Fifield tossed a no-hitter against Texas A&M-C.C. during a 2-0 win in College Station on Feb. 27. It was the first no-no since 2010, and sixth overall. Fifield was also named C-USA co-Pitcher of the Week on Feb. 28, which was also the first pitcher of the week accolade since the 2010 season. Senior Danielle Pearson kept zeros across the board in a pair of outings – the first at UNLV (6-0) and the second against LA Tech in El Paso (8-0 run-rule win). The staff’s three goose eggs were the most since the 2010 season. Miner hurlers also threw 27 complete games in 2016, the third most in school history and most since 2010 (29 CGs).
Other highlights during Echo-Hawk’s third year included 16 runs against Mount St. Mary’s, the most under Echo-Hawk. UTEP registered the most hits (17) and home runs (five) under Echo-Hawk against Incarnate Word. The Miners turned three double plays at Marshall, tied most in school history, while tallying 17 assists twice – at FIU and at Middle Tennessee, which is tied third in school annals.
Senior Kawehiokalani Netane recorded six RBI versus Mount St. Mary’s, two off the single-game record. Hope Moreno tallied five RBI against UTSA. Freshman Cortney Smith tallied seven assists from the shortstop position at FIU, tied second on school history.
During the 2015-16 school year, six Miners were named 2014-15 NFCA Scholar-Athletes, while 15 softball players made the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll; four student-athletes earned C-USA Academic Medals. Netane was also named as a 2015-16 C-USA Spirit of Service Award winner.
After completing her eighth season as a head coach, Echo-Hawk has mentored nine players who garnered Player of the Year or Pitcher of the Year accolades. Also under her direction, 44 players have been All-Conference, eight players have earned NFCA All-Region honors (six in the Pacific Region and two in the Midwest Region) and 49 were named Conference Player or Pitcher of the Week. In the classroom, two of Echo-Hawks athletes have been appointed to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team with eight All-Academic members, and 83 total selections to the PCSC (41) and C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll (42).
In Echo-Hawk’s second year, the Miners won nine Conference USA games for a second consecutive season. UTEP’s 18 league wins the last two seasons is the most since winning 19 during the 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
UTEP won 14 overall games in 2015. The offense hit .293, ranking second best average in school history. It was also the first time in school history that the Miners hit .290 or better for a second consecutive season. The team tallied 416 hits – the third most in program history and 14 more knocks than the season before.
Also on the offensive, the Miners grinded out 12 triples, tying the single-season record, while hitters set a school record by only striking out 189 times. Defensively, a school record was set as the Miners tallied 489 assists, while their 21 double plays turned tied a program record.
The 2015 season also saw a UTEP pitcher record more strikeouts than walks for the first time since 2011. Fifield registered 90 Ks and 73 walks. Fifield produced solid home numbers, assembling an 8-3 record with a 2.10 ERA, 43 Ks and 23 walks in 60.0 innings.
UTEP began C-USA play with a 3-0 record after sweeping Middle Tennessee on March 8 and 9 in El Paso. It was the third time in school history the Miners started league play undefeated. Following the sweep of the Blue Raiders, the Orange and Blue swept a two-game series against Texas Tech at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Miners began the home season undefeated (5-0). UTEP finished its home schedule with an 11-7 record, matching its 2014 home mark.
Under Echo-Hawk’s guidance, Miner sluggers earned multiple accolades. The first came on March 9 when Ashley Eldridge was named C-USA Co-Player of the Week after hitting .533 with three home runs and 10 RBI during a five-game stretch (March 3-8). Eldridge was the first Miner since the 2012 season to earn the honor. Eldridge earned her second player of the week honor on March 30 after producing a .667 average with a pair of long balls, six runs scored and seven RBI during a 2-1 series win over Southern Miss. Eldridge was the first UTEP softball player to earn multiple POW honors in a single season since the 2010 season. Netane was named C-USA Player of the Week on April 13 after hitting .385 with two home runs, five runs scored and eight RBI during a five-game stretch (April 7-12). It marked the first time since the 2010 season that multiple Miners earned such honors.
Multiple postseason awards were earned as well. Netane was named first team All-C-USA, while Eldridge was named second team all-conference. Clayton was tabbed to the C-USA All-Freshman team. The 2012 season was the last time two Miners were named all-conference, while one made the all-freshman team.
Tahla Wade, who entered the 2015 season with 12 stolen bases, set a single-season record by swiping 17 bags. Wade also holds the school record with nine career triples.
In 2014, Echo-Hawk’s first season at the helm, the Miners ended the campaign with nine league wins after winning just six the past three seasons, while their 17 overall wins were the most in four seasons. The season-ending 4-1 victory over East Carolina on May 4 was only the second time UTEP ended a season with a win - the last coming to end the 2006 season, a 5-1 win over UAB on May 7.
UTEP recorded its’ first-ever road sweep of a conference opponent - a three-game cleanup over LA Tech on March 15-16. The Miners also completed a conference home sweep over Middle Tennessee (April 12-13). It was the first home sweep of a league foe since the 2010 season.
During a game two 13-2 win over Middle Tennessee on April 12, as UTEP set a school-record for hits (15) in and home runs (four) in one inning and the Miners scored 13 runs during the record-setting second inning. The runs were the third most in program history for one inning.
Offensively, UTEP finished with a team batting average of .290 - third best in program history at the time. The team’s 402 hits was the fifth time the Miners have reached 400+ hits in a season.
Defensively, after compiling 89 errors in 2012 and 81 in 2011, the Miners committed 69 errors - the fourth least in program history. Their .952 fielding percentage was the best since the 2011 season (.953).
Under Echo-Hawk’s tutelage, senior centerfielder Erika Arcuri was named to the 2014 All-Conference USA first team, while senior pitcher/utility player Colleen Hohman was announced to the NFCA All-South Region third team. Echo-Hawk also mentored Ashley Eldridge during a career season, in which the junior tallied 17 doubles (tied second most in program history and tied first in C-USA rankings).
Echo-Hawk has a wealth of success as a head coach. In just five seasons at Portland State, she led the Vikings to four conference titles and four NCAA Regional appearances and was named league coach of the year five times (Pacific Coast Softball Conference 2009-12, Big Sky 2013). She compiled an overall record of 146-127 including 78-20 in conference play.
Echo-Hawk mentored eight players who garnered Conference Player or Pitcher of the Year accolades. She mentored 39 All-Conference Players and had six players earn placement on the NFCA All-Pacific Region team and 46 merited Conference Player or Pitcher of the Week recognition. Echo-Hawk’s student-athletes excelled in the classroom as well, with two appointed to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team and 41 selections to the PCSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
In 2009 she led Portland State to a 29-26 mark, including 15-5 in the PCSC. Her 2010 squad was 30-27 overall and 18-2 in league play. The 2011 squad fashioned a 34-18 mark (16-4 conference). The Vikings were 28-25 in 2012 with a 15-5 league ledger. Portland State capped the 2013 campaign with a 25-31 record as the Vikings rolled through the Big Sky Conference, winning 14 of 18 conference games.
She recorded her first NCAA Tournament win as a coach on May 18, 2012, as Portland State topped Mississippi State, 2-0, in Eugene, Ore.
The University of Nebraska graduate enjoyed a stellar four-year career from 1993-1996 as a third baseman. She was a four-time All-Big XII Conference selection, a three-time All-Midwest Region performer (94-96) and was a second team All-American as a junior and senior. She set single-season marks for batting average (.439), doubles (22), runs scored (66) and assists (170). Echo-Hawk also graduated as Nebraska’s all-time leader in hits (226) and doubles (48).
The Louisville, Colo. native served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Portland State from 2006-08 prior to being elevated to head coach. She previously was a volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater from 1996-97 before taking reins of the softball programs at Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colo. (1999-2002) and Broomfield High School in Broomfield, Colo. (2003-06).
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