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Embry-Riddle names former UCLA All-American Ambrosi as new softball coach

College Softball

Christie Ambrosi, a former UCLA All-American softball player, has been named the next head coach at Embry-Riddle, the athletic department announced Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (ERAU Athletics/Courtesy)

Christie Ambrosi, a former UCLA All-American softball player, has been named the next head coach at Embry-Riddle, the athletic department announced Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. (ERAU Athletics/Courtesy)

PRESCOTT — Embry-Riddle’s athletic department announced that it has hired Christie Ambrosi as its new softball coach Wednesday afternoon, replacing the departed Marie Thomason after five seasons.

Athletic Director Jaime Long said Ambrosi brings extensive coaching and playing experience with her to the university’s campus in north Prescott. Thomason coached the team from 2014-2017, but she missed the entire 2018 season because of health problems, Long said in the spring.

“I am thrilled that Christie is coming to Prescott to lead our softball program,” Long said in an athletic department news release. “Her experience as a player at both the collegiate and international level can’t be beat.

“She also has had a remarkable record of teaching and coaching softball in Kansas City and has an extensive network of softball contacts. All of us here at Embry-Riddle are excited to have her and lead our softball team to the next level.”

A native of Overland Park, Kansas, Ambrosi, 41, played collegiately and internationally. In 2000, she was a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won a gold medal in Sydney. Ambrosi has six other gold medals from international competitions, including the Pan-American Games and Junior World Championships.

“It is an honor to be named head coach for Embry-Riddle’s softball program,” Ambrosi said in the release. “The coaching staff and I are excited to begin building a program based on academic and athletic excellence.”

A 2000 graduate of UCLA with a bachelor’s in history, Ambrosi was a two-time All-American outfielder for the Bruins, helping guide the team to a national championship in 1999. A three-time All-Pac 10 selection, she finished her career at UCLA with a .367 batting average.

Before being hired at Embry-Riddle, Ambrosi owned a pair of softball clinics in the Kansas City area, including the Kansas City Softball Academy and the Christie Ambrosi Clinics, where she provided fast-pitch softball instruction to players of all ages and skill levels.

Ambrosi also made numerous appearances as a motivational speaker for various community organizations, the news release said.

In 2018, the Eagles compiled a 24-23 (7-13 Cal Pac) under interim coach Long. It was their best record in five seasons, and their only winning campaign.

Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.