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Texas Tech fires softball coach Sami Ward after two seasons

Don Williams
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt fired softball coach Sami Ward on Sunday, a day after the Red Raiders finished the regular season with a losing record for the second year in a row.

Tech's announcement said the change is effective immediately and Brooke Reed, the softball program's director of operations the past nine years, will be interim head coach through the end of the season.

Tech has the Big 12 tournament left May 12-14 in Oklahoma City.

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Tech hired Ward in October 2020 from Loyola Marymount. The Red Raiders went 21-26 last year and 3-15 in the Big 12, finishing sixth in the seven-team conference. They went 22-26 this season and 5-13 in the Big 12, finishing fifth in the conference.

"We believe it is in the best short- and long-term interest for us to make a change at this time," Hocutt said in Tech's announcement. "We have very high expectations for success in all our programs, and we believe we can be a prominent softball program."

Among the teams that finished in the top three in the Big 12, each one swept its three-game conference series from Tech. Top-ranked Oklahoma outscored Tech 43-0 over three games, No. 6 Oklahoma State outscored the Red Raiders 32-3 and No. 17 Texas outscored Tech 23-11. 

Reed played at Western Kentucky and was an assistant coach at Mississippi Valley State before coming to Tech.

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Brandi Stuart, who is the Tech executive senior associate athletics director and the sport supervisor for softball, will assist Reed during the interim period, Tech said. 

Stuart was an all-American infielder during her career at Florida State from 2000 through 2003. She was inducted into the FSU athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.

Texas Tech football: Team picks up commitment

Texas Tech picked up a commitment Sunday from Sam Carrell, a defensive line prospect who redshirted as a true freshman last season with Washington State.

Carrell, listed by WSU at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, played high-school football at Albuquerque (N.M.) Sandia. As a junior, he earned first-team all-district recognition after being credited with 51 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and six sacks.

Sandia's season was delayed until two games in the spring of 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic during Carrell's senior year. He instead enrolled at Washington State in January 2021. 

At that time, according to recruiting services, he also had scholarship offers from Baylor, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Northern Colorado.

Carrell was born in Okinawa, the son of an Air Force colonel.