LA Tech softball program makes coaching staff changes

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RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech head coach Mark Montgomery announced a number of staff changes this week as the Lady Techsters prepare for the start of the school year following a historic season that saw the program win both the C-USA regular season and tournament titles.

Following the departure of Associate Head Coach Emerald Doria (hired as the head coach at Southwestern University) and the retirement of volunteer coach Mike Forsythe, Montgomery has promoted Bianca Duran into the top assistant coaching position while promoting graduate manager Brooke Morris to the volunteer coaching position. Montgomery also announced the addition of Shelby Shelton as the second full-time assistant position.

Duran will enter her fourth season coaching at her alma mater, serving the past three years in the No. 2 role behind Doria. She has helped the Lady Techsters earn three C-USA titles (one regular season, two tournaments) during that time and a pair of trips to the NCAA Regionals (2017, 2019). She worked closely with Forsythe in coaching the LA Tech pitchers and will take over the sole responsibility of the Lady Techster hurlers this year. She also works with the LA Tech outfielders.

“No one is more deserving of this promotion than Bianca,” said Montgomery. “She has been an integral part of our success the last several years, and I am so excited to see her take over as our pitching coach. Mike has been able to help her learn and grow the last three seasons and now it is her turn to take over that role. I know she will work tirelessly and will be amazing.”

Shelton comes to Ruston after spending the past four years as an assistant coach at her alma mater Howard College in Texas. During her four seasons with the Hawks, she helped guide the program to 174 wins, four straight conference titles, four consecutive regional championships, as well as four trips to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) tournament.

She was named the 2018 NFCA Junior College Assistant Coach of the Year.

“We are excited to add Shelby to our coaching staff,” said Montgomery. “She is an amazing young coach who is a tireless worker, great recruiter and skilled instructor. We truly feel as though she will allow us to continue our program’s growth and development.”

Shelton has been responsible for recruiting in Texas, California and the general southwest portion of the United States and has coached numerous all-Americans, including the 2019 NFCA Junior College Player of the Year Amanda Gonzalez.

“I want to thank Coach Montgomery and Louisiana Tech for this opportunity,” said Shelton. “I have a huge amount of respect for what this coaching staff has built in Ruston. I look forward to working with them and learning from them as I look to do my part to add to the success. It is very evident that a championship culture is established at Tech. I’m excited to meet all of our players and get to work.”

As a player, she played at Howard College for two years (2011-13) and was a member of the 2012 Regional V West Champions that finished ninth in the national tournament. The 2013 team won the WJCAC championship and compiled 53 victories.

Shelton spent her final two years at UT-Tyler (2013-15). During that time, she helped lead the program to a pair of American Southwest Conference titles, one regional championship and one super regional championship.

She was a four-time all-conference selection and was an NFCA All-American Scholar Athlete. Shelton graduated from UT Tyler with a bachelor degree in kinesiology and has a master’s degree in health, kinesiology and sports studies with athletic administration concentration from Texas A&M University- Commerce.

Morris begins her second year at Tech after serving as the graduate manager during the 2019 season following a highly-decorated career at Nicholls State.

“Brooke did a great job this past year as our graduate manager,” said Montgomery. “She always preformed every task, going above-and-beyond my expectations.  It was easy to see that she is going to be a great young coach. With Mike’s retirement, it was a no brainer to offer that position to Brooke. This will allow her to take an active coaching role with us and really allow her to begin her coaching career.”

She started 212 games during her four-year career (2014-17) at Nicholls State, playing second base and shortstop for the Colonels. The two-time all-conference honoree (2015, 2017) ranks No. 5 in program history in career hits (192) and career runs scored (115).

“I am super blessed and thankful for Coach Montgomery to give me this opportunity,” said Morris. “Last year as the graduate manager I learned a tremendous amount and I look forward continuing my education within the game surrounded by this amazing coaching staff. I could not have asked for a better experience at Louisiana Tech.”

The Denham Springs, La., native prepped at Live Oak High School where she earned all-state, all-metro, all-parish and all-district honors during her career. She also lettered in basketball, earning the rookie of the year award.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in human performance education and interdisciplinary studies from Nicholls State in 2017. She is currently working on her master’s degree in kinesiology with a concentration in sports administration at Louisiana Tech.

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