The Maneater

Ehren Earleywine fired eight days before Missouri softball’s Black and Gold game

Earleywine had guided Missouri to 11 consecutive NCAA Regional Appearances.

Maneater File Photo

Head Missouri softball coach Ehren Earleywine was fired this morning, effective immediately, according to an announcement by Mizzou Athletics.

Earleywine’s 2017 softball team struggled more than previous seasons, posting a 29-28 record that was the program’s worst since 2006.

Earleywine was also investigated by the Office for Civil Rights & Title IX and the athletic department in 2016. The investigation, which concluded in August 2016 under interim chancellor Hank Foley, determined there was no violation of the team’s “non-discrimination policies.”

In an interview after an April game against Arkansas last year, Earleywine admitted the season had been a challenge.

“I have a lot of perspective because of what we went through last year...had I not had that season last year, this season might’ve been really difficult to go through,” Earleywine said. “But I’m happy to be employed at the University of Missouri, and so I keep reminding myself of that.”

MU athletic director Jim Sterk made the announcement via a press release.

“We do not take action of this magnitude without careful thought and consideration,” Sterk said via the release. “However, we have lost confidence in Coach Earleywine's leadership to foster the type of healthy environment we expect for our student-athletes, and as a result, believe it is in the program's best interest to make a change at this time.”

Earleywine will be paid through June 30, per his contract, according to the announcement. An interim head coach is expected to be announced next week.

On March 10 of last year, starting pitcher and redshirt junior Madi Norman said she had lots of confidence in Earleywine and his coaching style. Last year was Norman’s first season with the Tigers after two years at Louisville.

“He’s probably one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had,” Norman said. “He’s one of the most brilliant people in the game of softball that I’ve ever met, so it’s awesome to come into a program and have total confidence in your coach and trust in your coach.”

The team had no further comment at this time, citing the fact the decision was a personnel matter.

The softball season will begin on Feb. 3 with the Black and Gold Game. The team officially begins its season with the Kajikawa Classic Feb. 8-11 in Tempe, Arizona.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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