BATESVILLE, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – Elliott Sampley, a 1996 graduate of Lyon College and a 2008 inductee into the prestigious Lyon Athletics Hall of Fame, was named as the sixth head coach in the history of the Scots softball program on Tuesday, according to Lyon Director of Athletics Kevin Jenkins.
Who better to continue to lead the Lyon program in a positive direction than a member of the start-up Scots baseball program in 1992 and a Hall of Famer?
Sampley, 43, was one of only three members of the Lyon baseball program who played the first four years of its existence from 1992-96. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education and later earned a Masters of Science degree in Education from Northwest Missouri State University in 1997.
"I believe Elliott is a great fit for our program at this time, and his history with our Institution and ties to the community will enable him to understand the type of student-athlete we're looking for here at Lyon," said Jenkins. "He is the type of coach that will continue to lead the program in a positive direction and there is no doubt he has a passion for the game on the diamond."
Sampley, the 96th inductee into the Lyon Athletics Hall of Fame, said he also feels that his history at the College will be a plus as he begins working toward the 2015 season.
"It's an advantage (to be a Lyon alum), when it comes to recruiting and helping the ladies continue their education because I know the demands in the classroom and on the field as a student-athlete here (at Lyon). I know what kind of players we need for this program to be successful."
Sampley brings 30 years of coaching experience to Lyon, working as a head coach for 19 years and an assistant for 11. He has worked on minor league and semi-professional baseball staffs for eight years and 14 years on collegiate staffs.
In addition to being a head coach of the Nevada Griffons semi-professional baseball club (1997-2000), he served as an assistant for a Shreveport professional squad of the Independent League from 2002-05.
Sampley's collegiate experience is in baseball, as head coach at Bossier Parish Community College for four seasons (2002-05), and assistant positions at Missouri Valley College (2000-02), Pratt Community College (1998-00), Texarkana College (1997-98) and Northwest Missouri State University (1996-97).
The Lyon College softball program is coming off a 17-23 record in 2014, improving six wins over the 2013 season and posting the third-most wins in the history of the program. The Scots tied for seventh place in its second season in the American Midwest Conference, but missed the league's postseason tournament on a tie-breaker.
Sampley believes the key to a continued climb in the league standings starts with recruiting.
"The No. 1 key to continued improvement is recruiting," the new Lyon coach stated. "You've got to keep bringing in quality student-athletes. I'll also be implementing my philosophy and keeping the team working hard every day so we'll continue to improve.
"My short-term goal here is to win a conference championship. My long-term goal is to win a national championship. The shorter time it takes to win a conference championship, the better. My philosophy is tradition never graduates. I want us to get better each and every year and to continue to build on the season before."
He believes his style of play will not only be enjoyed by his players, but the fans, as well.
"My style is a hard-nosed, fast-paced style of offense and defense," Sampley pointed out. "I like a very fast-paced game, with hustling on and off the field, players verbally being in the game, whether they are in the lineup or not. Everybody needs to know the count and the situation at all times. We're going to be intense and fast-paced all the time. We'll definitely be fun to watch."