ATHENS, Ohio – The Ohio softball team has added Garrett Furnal as an assistant coach, first year head coach Kenzie Roark announced today (Sept. 25).
"I am so excited to have Garrett join our staff," Roark said. "His experience with all facets of the game will be a huge asset to our student athletes. He has a great knowledge and passion for softball, and I am so glad he is part of our family."
Furnal spent last season at UNC Wilmington. In 2018, UNCW advanced to the CAA tournament for the second consecutive year. The CAA head softball coaches in the conference identified UNCW sophomore Dominique Travers and freshman Emily Langkamp as top athletes in the conference. Langkamp was also named All-Rookie Team after starting all 49 games recording the fewest strikeouts on the team. Two other girls joined the 100-Hit Club and multiple athletes received spots on the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association All-State Second Team.
"First and foremost, I'd like to thank Coach Roark for this opportunity to work at Ohio University," Furnal said. "I've had the privilege of coaching against her in years past, and I've always admired how she coaches the game. When it comes to being softball savvy and how she handles herself on and off the field, you won't find a better quality person. With that said, I'm very excited to work with this team and to continue to build off the recent success they've had."
In 2017, Furnal's first year at UNCW, Seahawks won 35 regular season games and qualified for the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament for the first time in a decade. They also set a program record with a .977 fielding percentage, putting them at fifth out of all Division One teams in the country. Kelsey Bryen became the first Seahawk to be named CAA Defensive Player-of-the-Year. Bryan, among others, earned CAA Player-of-the-Week honors throughout the season.
Prior to UNCW, Furnal spent three seasons at Presbyterian College in South Carolina. The Blue Hose 2014 season came to a close one win short of qualifying for the NCAA tournament, making it to the Big South Tournament Championship for the first time in program history. The team continued to improve in 2015 and in 2016 the team broke multiple program records.
During the 2015 campaign, Furnal coached three athletes with All-Conference honors, setting a Presbyterian College record at the time. Erin Ruff, Shelby Petik and Jill McLean made the Big South All-Conference First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention, respectively. In 2016, four Blue Hens, including Erin Ruff, were selected for Big South All-Conference teams, breaking the program record again.
Furnal began his coaching career at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 2013. Under his instruction, the Warhawks' team batting average improved by 58 points. The team's increased productivity at the plate resulted in nearly 100 more runs, hits and RBIs compared to the previous season. These improvements led to multiple athletes being named to All-Conference Teams for the first time since 2006; Miyuki Navarrete earned All Sun Belt Conference Second Team honors and Rochelle Roberts earned both All Sun Belt Conference First Team honors as well as the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year title under Furnal's guidance.