June 25, 2009

Yackey Joins Bobcat Staff as Softball Coach

BANNER ELK, N.C. - Athletic Director Craig McPhail has announced the hiring of Merritt Yackey as the new Lees-McRae College Lady Bobcat head softball coach.

Yackey will take over all softball responsibilities effective immediately for the Lady Bobcats.

"I am pleased and honored to be returning to Lees-McRae College, albeit in a different role as the head softball coach," Yackey said. "My wife, Sara, and I have enjoyed our involvement with the college through the athletic department over the past couple years. Lees-McRae is a fine, small college located in a tremendous community and county."

Yackey has over 25 years of experience in higher education. He was Director of Development/Special Giving at Albion College from 1988-1993, Director of Development at Converse College from 1995-1996, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at Catawba College from 1997-2000, Special Assistant to the President/Campaign Director at Limestone College from 2000-2002, Vice President for Development at Mansfield University from 2002-2004 and Vice President for Advancement at Lees-McRae College from 2004-2007. Yackey has also been the head softball coach at local Avery High School since 2007.

"Merritt is a class act, a proven success, and we are very fortunate to have someone like him join our athletic department," McPhail said. "I believe he possesses a unique and diverse skill set which is so valuable to small college athletics. I am looking to Merritt to continue the growth of our softball program, where Coach Kennedy has built it up to this point and be able to take these young women who come to Lees-McRae to new heights in our conference."

Yackey takes over a women's softball program that finished with the school's first winning season in ten seasons and finished seventh in the Conference Carolinas.

"I have grown to know Lees-McRae as a college that takes care of her students and provides the education they need to make a difference in the careers of their choice," Yackey said. "Having an opportunity to nurture student-athletes through the softball program and improve upon the groundwork that has been laid is exciting. Additionally, I look forward to working with an excellent and committed athletic staff."