EUREKA – Juell Hodges has been named the Eureka softball head coach, according to an announcement from Director of Athletics Bryan Moore on Monday.
Hodges, a 2018 alum of the University of Tennessee, will be the ninth head coach in Eureka softball history. She comes to Eureka after gaining experience working for two Division I programs.
From 2018 to 2020, Hodges was a voluntary assistant coach at Ohio University, where she worked extensively with the team's slappers and earned her master's degree in coaching education. Prior to that, she learned the ins and outs of collegiate softball as a student manager at Tennessee from 2015-2017. She received her bachelor's degree in sports management at Tennessee in 2018.
"Juell's commitment to the full student experience was evident throughout our search process and we're certain she will cultivate an environment for our softball student-athletes to thrive on and off the diamond," Moore said. "Her background and experience in the college game as a student-athlete, manager and coach will help lead us into the next chapter of our storied softball program."
The Mokena, Ill. native played collegiately at NJCAA Illinois Central College in East Peoria in 2014 and 2015. At ICC, she appeared in 58 games in two seasons and played first base, third base and pitcher. She batted .370 in 134 plate appearances with a team-high eight home runs and 36 RBI in leading the Cougars to the NJCAA Division II national tournament as a sophomore in 2015.
In recent years, she has coached club softball in the central Illinois area for the Midwest Sting.
"I feel blessed with the opportunity to take over an established softball program, be a coach in such a great collegiate athletic program, and be part of such a prestigious academic institution," Hodges said. "My road to Eureka College was paved with great opportunities, hard work, dedication, and many life lessons. Athletics, especially softball, have afforded, and continues to afford, me superior personal development. This coaching position gives me opportunities to use my experiences to not only develop tremendous athletes, but to help develop our student-athletes into well-rounded and productive young people. I am extremely excited to get on campus and get to work!"
Hodges will take over a Eureka team that has 11 players eligible to return from last season's squad, which went 8-16. Hodges, who officially begins her tenure Aug. 4, succeeds Debi Neff, who stepped down as head coach after nine seasons last May.