Six days after it was announced Vann Stuedeman was no longer head coach of the softball team, Mississippi State University Athletic Director John Cohen announced the hire of Samantha Ricketts in a press release sent out by the MSU Athletic Department.
"Samantha’s vision, national recruiting experience and her ability to teach the game were the biggest factors in our decision. She has been one of the most sought-after rising stars in the nation," Cohen said. "With her SEC experience and her time at Oklahoma, she knows what it takes to develop our student-athletes into strong people, both on and off the field."
Now 1,872 miles from her hometown of San Jose, California, Ricketts's journey to MSU began as a player at the University of Oklahoma from 2009-2011. At Oklahoma, she made a Women's College World Series appearance. As an assistant coach at Wichita State University from 2012-2014, Ricketts helped the Shockers go from ninth place in 2012 to winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship in 2014.
Ricketts has been a Bulldog since 2015. She served as an assistant coach for three years before serving as the associate head coach this past year. Ricketts thanked Cohen and MSU for the opportunity, as well as MSU's President Mark Keenum.
"I take so much pride in this program, and we will work extremely hard and efficiently in elevating Mississippi State softball to our ultimate goals," Ricketts said. "I am eager to continue to mentor our team, not just as Bulldog student-athletes but as first-class leaders in this community."
The former Sooner served as a team captain at OU. Her former head coach Patty Gasso said she had the pleasure to coach Ricketts and is excited to see what she can accomplish at MSU.
"Now, to witness Sam as the leader and head coach of Mississippi State’s softball program is a very proud moment," Gasso said. "Hard working and humble, Sam will be the perfect female role model and take the program to new heights."