JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield has announced her retirement.
"We want to thank Coach Hollifield for a legendary career coaching at Carson-Newman," Carson-Newman AD Allen Morgan said. "Her success on and off the field is indisputable, as evidenced by her win-loss record and her presence in a number halls of fame. When you think of Carson-Newman softball, the first name you have to think of is Vickee Hollifield. Her retirement leaves a huge void in Carson-Newman athletics and the game of softball. We wish her and her husband Matt the very best."
Hollified is a member of the Carson-Newman, South Atlantic Conference and NFCA Hall of Fame. She finishes her career with 1,161 wins, the third most all-time in NCAA Division II history.
"It's been a good run, and sometimes in life, you know it's time," Kazee-Hollifield said. "It's time. I'm so thankful for the Lord for allowing me to coach for 33 years and letting me live out my dream since I was in the eighth grade."
Assistant coach Michael Graves is Carson-Newman's interim head coach, effective immediately.
The only coach Carson-Newman has known in the 33-year history of its softball program, Kazee-Hollifield guided the Lady Eagles to 13 NCAA tournament berths and four NAIA tournaments. That includes seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2004-2011. She won SAC coach of the year a league-record 12 times and took Carson-Newman to the Super Regionals in 2009.
Kazee-Hollifield guided Carson-Newman to 25 South Atlantic Conference titles and coached 17 SAC Players of the Year, 17 All-Americans, 30 All-Southeast Region selections and 165 All-SAC selections, including 93 first teamers.
She herself has coached South Atlantic Conference Hall of Famers in Heather Randolph, Carol Zachary Mitchell, Sammi Hatcher Chafin and Marci Mitchell Whiteside.
Probably the more remarkable number though comes from Kazee-Hollifield's graduation rate. Every player who completed their eligibility under her guidance graduated with a Carson-Newman degree.
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 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.