Special to the E-T

Tarleton Sports Information

STEPHENVILLE - Tarleton softball head coach Julie Mata has announced the hiring of Amy (AJ) Bristow as the new TexAnn assistant softball coach.

Bristow, a three-year letterwinner for the TexAnns, has already begun her duties.

"I am very excited about coming back to coach at my alma mater," Bristow said. "I will be working with the pitchers and catchers this year, and I believe we have a chance to return to the national playoffs. I have been there as a player, now I want to return as a coach."

Mata is also excited about Bristow returning to the program.

"We've been very fortunate to hire Amy (AJ) Bristow as our new assistant coach," Mata said. " We will certainly miss Cheryl Dickens, who did such a tremendous job for us over the last two seasons before moving on to be a head coach, but AJ brings similar abilities and determination to the job."

After a two-year hiatus from softball working as a construction lending agent at Key Bank in Dallas, Bristow is ready to return to her first love.

"Softball is my true passion," Bristow said. "I was making pretty good money, but I missed doing something I truly loved. I wanted to get back into the collegiate ranks, and I want to thank Coach Mata and Tarleton for giving me that chance. I am ecstatic to get back to my passion, and I hope to help continue the success here at Tarleton."

Bristow, who replaces Dickens who accepted a head coaching position at Rockdale High School near Austin, is the second straight former letterwinner to return to the TexAnns to coach. And Mata believes that only enhances the program.

"The best part about having one of our former players return to coach within our program is that we get a coach who already knows the system and believes whole-heartedly in the same values," Mata said.

Bristow, a native of Rowlett, finished her senior season in 2005 with a 141-2 overall record and a team-best 2.46 earned run average. She saw action in 162.1 innings and started 21 of 34 games while completing 11. She had two shutouts and two saves while walking just 55 batters and striking out 105. The senior was named tot he Lone Star Conference South Division Second Team, the LSC South Division All-Academic Team and she was Tarleton's female LSC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

As a junior, led the TexAnns in wins after going 16-12. She saw action in 168 innings and threw 12 complete games, including one shutout. Bristow recorded 95 strikeouts in 26 starts and appeared in 39 contests for Tarleton with a 3.48 ERA. She was named to the LSC South Division Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll.

In 2003, Bristow was an LSC South Division Honorable Mention honoree after posting a 16-3 record and a 3.07 ERA in 35 appearances. She set the school record for winning percentage in a season (.842). Bristow tossed five complete games, including one shutout, and she tallied 80 strikeouts while allowing only one homerun in 143.2 innings of action.

"AJ was a terrific pitcher for us here at TSU and she is going to focus most of her coaching on working with our pitchers and catchers," Mata said. " She is very intelligent, creative and driven to succeed."