JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman has re-dubbed the softball field the Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex in honor of 29-year head softball coach, Vickee Kazee-Hollifield in a ceremony at the field following Carson-Newman's homecoming football game against Tusculum, Saturday.
"It's such an honor," Kazee-Hollifield said. "I get to be the recipient of this, I never crossed home plate. I'm standing here because of a lot of ladies who I had an opportunity to coach and because of the success that they had."
With 991 wins, Hollifield is on the verge of becoming the 23rd collegiate softball coach and fifth among Division II head coaches with more than 1,000 victories for her career. She is fourth in career win percentage and fifth in wins in NCAA Division II history. Among active Division II coaches, only Frank Cheek (Humboldt State), Chris Bellotto (Florida Southern) and Gary Bryce (Wayne State) have more wins than Kazee-Hollifield.
"You couldn't name the softball coach that I would replace for Vickee Kazee-Hollifield," University president Randall O'Brien said. "She's the only one we've ever had and I'm still amazed (by what she's been able to accomplish)."
The 2013 campaign saw Kazee-Hollifield oversee one of the most dominant hitting performances in SAC history as shortstop Brittany Hefner garnered All-American, regional player of the year and SAC player of the year honors for a record-setting season with 19 home runs (a school record) and 75 RBI (a school and conference record). The Eagles finished the year 30-18 as Hefner, senior catcher Bri Shoemake, freshman utility player Elayna Siebert and freshman Kelli Hensley all made the SAC's all-conference first team. All four players also landed on various all-region teams.
In 2012, Kazee-Hollifield helped produce three all-SAC selections in first team outfielder Cassidy Skeen and second team pitcher and first basemen Mary Shealy and Caitlyn Lance. Their selections bring Carson-Newman's all-time all-confernce selections to 133 - tops in the SAC by 47 over second place Lenoir-Rhyne's 86.
In 2011, the Lady Eagles earned a SAC record seventh-straight NCAA Tournament berth behind a 41-17-1 record and 14-4 mark in league play. The record marks the seventh time in eight year the Lady Eagles have won at least 35 games. The one year they didn't, they reached their first-ever NCAA D-II Super Regional.
In 2010, the Lady Eagles won 37 games and reached their sixth-consecutive NCAA Tournament.
In 2009, Hollifield guided the Lady Eagles to the most successful postseason run in program history. After entering the SAC Tournament as a No. 6 seed, C-N defeated four straight opponents, including a 2-0 win over Wingate in the championship game, to claim its second-consecutive SAC Tournament title and ninth overall. The Lady Eagles then swept through the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament, defeating Lenoir-Rhyne 2-1 in the finals to earn the program's first-ever trip to the Super Regionals. C-N's run ended in the Super Regionals as it fell in a best of three series to No. 1 North Georgia. The Lady Eagles finished the year at 32-17. In 2008, the Lady Eagles turned in one of the best seasons in SAC history, setting a school record with 49 wins, clinching the SAC regular season and tournament titles, en route to earning the top seed for the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
Her teams have won 13 SAC regular season titles in 18 seasons, including 8-of-9 from 1995-2003.
The Oneida, Tenn. native is the winningest coach in SAC history by both winning percentage and total victories, and is climbing higher on the NCAA Division II coaching ladder with each season. Currently, she is in the top ten all-time in wins and winning percentage in Division II history.
Hollifield's run began in 1986, as she started a C-N program that went 21-10 in its first season and has never looked back, winning over 38 games a year from 1988-'92, and grabbing the first two SAC titles.
In 1991, after their second straight unbeaten season in conference play and qualifying for the NAIA National Tournament, her peers named Hollifield NAIA District 26 Coach of the Year.
In 1995, she led her squad to a 35-10 season, won the SAC regular and postseason titles and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the school's history.The 1996 season saw Hollifield and her Lady Eagles again winning the SAC regular and tournament titles, as well as for the second-consecutive season qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. The 1998 season was a carbon copy of the '95 and '96 campaigns with the Lady Eagles winning the SAC regular season and tournament titles before advancing to yet another NCAA II National Tournament.
Hollifield started the new millennium off on the right track, leading her team to its eighth SAC title and finishing out the season 35-10 overall and 13-3 in SAC action. The new millennium found Hollifield going back to the National Tournament after finishing the season as the SAC regular season champions and compiling a 40-16 record.Hollifield has seen many of her players receive postseason honors.
Pitcher Carol Zachary earned All-America honors three times and was a four-time recipient of All-District and All-Conference honors, while Brandi Hardin and Sammi Hatcher each received All-America accolades in 1992. The 1993 season saw Hatcher and Lindi Bordine earn All-America honors, while Heather Randolph joined that list in 1995. In all, more than 40 Lady Eagles have earned all-district or all-region distinction, while more than 100 have earned All-SAC accolades. That is a mark that not many coaches at any level can match.
The 1983 C-N graduate has been involved in athletics at C-N for three decades. The successful association began as she starred for the Lady Eagle basketball team after leading the Tennessee prep ranks in scoring as a high school senior. Her name still appears in the C-N record book several times, and she was named to the Lady Eagle Basketball Team of the Century in 1995.
After finishing her playing career, Hollifield worked as a graduate assistant at C-N. During that time, she earned her Master's degree from the University of Tennessee. Recognizing that the C-N alum was someone who had a passion for C-N athletics, the administration hired Hollifield to head the volleyball program and to assist with women's basketball.
Hollifield, who now coaches only softball and is Senior Woman Administrator, relinquished her duties as volleyball coach after guiding C-N to a 59-21 record (.738) in three seasons and a District 24 title in 1985.
Hollifield is married to Matt Hollifield of Norcross, Ga. The couple resides in Jefferson City, Tenn.
NCAA SUPER REGIONALS: '09
NCAA TOURNAMENT: (10) 1991 (NAIA), 1995, '96, '98, '01, '05, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11
SAC TITLES: (13) 1990, '91, '93, '95, '96, '97, '98, '00, '01, '02, '03, '05, '08
SAC TOURNAMENT TITLES: (9) 1991, '92, '94, '95, '96, '98, '05, '08, '09
SAC COACH OF THE YEAR: (10) 1991, '93, '95, '96, '98, '00, '01, '02
NAIA DISTRICT CHAMPS: 1988, '89, '91, '92
NAIA DISTRICT RUNNER-UP: 1986, '90, '93
NAIA TRI-DISTRICT CHAMPS: 1991