Mizzou Softball Fires Coach Ehren Earleywine

Ashley Wright, 23 Sports

On Friday, the University of Missouri announced its decision to part ways with softball coach Ehren Earleywine just two weeks before its first game of the season.

In a statement released by Missouri’s director of athletics, Jim Sterk, the decision was “in the program’s best interest.”

The firing of Earleywine ends his 11 year tenure with the program in which Missouri enjoyed three Women’s College World Series appearances, 11 consecutive NCAA Regional appearances and an average of 45 wins per season since he took over in 2007. Despite Earleywine’s success on the field his coaching style sparked some controversy and complaints in regard to his treatment of players. Former Missouri AD Mack Rhoades began a four-month investigation into complaints of verbal abuse by Earleywine from both inside and outside the program in 2016. During the 2016 season the investigation led to Missouri softball players protesting because of the administration’s decision to investigate Earleywine. At the conclusion of the investigation Missouri agreed to let Earleywine return as the head coach under the condition he improved his coaching style.

“Since my arrival at Mizzou, I have had a chance to consider concerns within the softball program that arose before my time and observe Coach Earleywine’s leadership of our program,” Sterk said. “The decision was based upon a cumulation of leadership concerns, not just one incident, which caused me to reevaluate his position within our softball program at this time.”

The timing of Earleywine’s release is the concern of many people. A decision on a new head coach has not yet been released and neither has the future of Earleywine’s coaching staff.