Preslie Norris

Western Kentucky third baseman Preslie Cruce (Norris) smiles Wednesday, April 8, 2015, after hitting a home run against Murray State during a doubleheader at the WKU Softball Complex. 

After two seasons coaching the Corner softball team, Karan Atkins has passed the torch to Yellow Jackets alum Preslie Norris.

A former standout on the Yellow Jackets’ infield and member of the school’s 2011 graduating class, Norris says it’s exciting to come home. 

“I just want to see this program grow and do what I feel like it’s capable of doing,” said Norris. “And I would like to see that all the way down to the park level… just to stay a strong softball community.” 

Norris spent the last two season coaching softball, girls basketball and cross country at Bragg Middle School. Before that, she coached at Maddox Middle School in Jasper. This will be her first experience as a head coach at the varsity level, although her playing days carried her far beyond the high school diamond. 

“I’ve got some nerves about it, but I know this is right for me. I felt like this was God’s plan,” said Norris. 

Norris was a four-year starter at Corner, earning first-team all state honors in 2009 and 2010. She later signed a scholarship with Western Kentucky University where she set school records for on-base percentage (.446), runs (151), walks (92) and hit by pitch (80). 

She accepted second-team all-conference accolades in both her freshman and sophomore seasons with the Hilltoppers. She earned the first-team all-conference nod at third base as a junior in 2014, as she led WKU in home runs (seven), walks (34), on-base percentage (.489) and assists (111). 

She says her plate discipline as a player has spilled over onto her coaching tendencies: “I try to teach them a mindset at the plate of having a game plan for different pitchers. You have to be patient at the plate.”

Norris now takes over a Yellow Jackets program that checked in at No. 8 in the final Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 5A poll of 2019. Atkins has accepted the head volleyball position at Gulf Shores High School.

Erik Harris is the sports editor for The North Jefferson News. He can be reached at sports@njeffersonnews.com

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