VIDEO: Kristen Toppel Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman head softball coach Michael Graves has announced the hiring of former All-SAC shortstop and C-N softball alumna Kristen Toppel as the program's new assistant coach.
"Kristen will bring a massive amount of energy to the program," Graves said. "her work ethic is second to none. Her love and passion for the game, combined with her work ethic and tireless energy, will make her a beast on the recruiting trail. She is an Eagle. She knows how this program is supposed to operate and the caliber of high-character athlete we are looking for here."
Toppel helped Carson-Newman to two South Atlantic Conference regular season titles, a pair of tournament titles and three trips to NCAA regional play.
A life-time .290 hitter and two-time All-SAC selection, Toppel started 197 games for Carson-Newman and played in 199.
She had 169 knocks, 34 doubles and nine home runs. She stole 48 bases in 56 attempts in her career.
Toppel ranks just outside the top 10 in SAC history for runs scored and stolen bases for a career.
"I had an incredible four-year experience here," Toppel said. "I wasn't prepared for the feeling of missing the sport that I loved so much ending on a dime. When I found out this was a potential opportunity, I was over the moon. I have so much eagerness to channel that passion and emotion for the game into this program as a coach. I'm eager and thankful for this opportunity to coach at my alma mater."
She matched the single-game school record for doubles with three in a game at Fort Valley State her freshman season. Twice that year she matched a then 20-year-old record for runs scored in a single-game. She crossed home plate five times against Fort Valley State and also against Bluefield State.
Toppel was hit by a pitch 32 times in her career, narrowly missing out on the top 25 in NCAA history for the most time struck by a pitch in a career.
She also owns the fifth longest hitting streak in school history. That came during an All-SAC sophomore season. She also earned SAC and TSWA player of the Week and hit .345 for the year.
Toppel produced a 16-game hitting streak between February and March for the Eagles, the fourth longest in school history. As a sophomore she finished in the top 15 in the conference in eight offensive statistical categories.
During her player of the week run, Toppel batted .526 (10-for-19) with one double, two home runs, seven RBIs and eight runs scored in six games for the Eagles. The Roanoke, Va., native posted two hits in both games of a doubleheader versus Bluefield State College, scoring twice in the opener and hitting a three-run inside-the-park homer in the second contest.
Toppel resides in Knoxville.