Riverdale principal Tom Nolan wasted little time finding the next softball coach to lead the Lady Warriors.
About two weeks after losing state championship coach Jeff Breeden to MTSU, Nolan on Tuesday hired former St. Benedict coach Christy Bingham to replace him.
Bingham, who ran cross country at Arkansas, led the Cordova private school to Division II runner-up finishes in 2004, 2008 and 2009. She has more than 400 softball victories and a 79 percent winning percentage during her 15 seasons at the school. She did not coach at the school this past season.
“She is a proven coach and a proven teacher,” Nolan said. “We feel like we hit a home run.”
She has recently worked with the Nashville Pro Fastpitch professional league and has coached the Back to School All-Star tour which is located in Mt. Juliet.
Bingham said the school administration’s support of athletics led to her desire to come to Riverdale.
“Riverdale is a great school with great leadership of sports,” said Bingham, who will be a fine arts teacher at the school. “They are always in the championships, or in the hunt. They have a great environment to coach and work in.”
Bingham developed St. Benedict into a statewide and national power in her tenure. St. Benedict was ranked nationally by USA Today in six different seasons in Bingham’s tenure.
She has had 29 athletes receive college scholarships, including 18 to Division I programs. She was named The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s coach of the year six times. Her teams finished in the top four in their classification in 13 of her 15 seasons.
The only thing she hasn’t done is ever win a TSSAA state title.
Bingham inherits a Riverdale program that has won nine straight District 7-AAA titles under Breeden. Breeden left the school to be the MTSU head coach, which he considered his dream job. Riverdale won the 2009 Class AAA state title under Breeden.
Bingham said she knows Breeden from competing against him in past tournaments. St. Benedict has competed in the Lady Warrior Southern Invitational in the past.
“I’ve alwayd enjoyed coaching against Jeff on the field,” Bingham said. “I am very familar with their facilities. When we would come down to state, Jeff was always nice enough to let us practice in their indoor facility or their field. They have a great stadium and a great indoor facility.”
Riverdale graduated its top pitcher from 2012 in UT-Chattanooga freshman Rachel Albritton. Outfielders Katie Brown, Courtney Clark and Taylor Lee also graduated.
However, the entire infield along with No. 2 pitcher Kristin Uselton return.
“Hopefully you’ll see the same type of play you’ve seen in the past from them,” Bingham said. “We’ll get out on the field and win games. My style is I adapt to the players.
“Whatever athletes we get there I will coach to whatever their talents are.”