July 6, 2006
ATLANTA – Todd Downes and Melissa Tucci were named as assistant softball coaches at Georgia Tech, announced by head coach Ehren Earleywine on Thursday. Downes joins Tech after serving as a health and physical education teacher for 16 years, while Tucci comes to the Yellow Jacket staff after leading Marist to the NCAA Softball Tournament in 2006.
“These are two quality people and coaches,” said Earleywine. “We are fortunate to have both of them on our side.”
Downes is a 16-year coach and health and physical education teaching veteran in the Cobb County School District. He served as head softball coach at Kell High School (2002-04) and Walton High School (1995-2002) where he led both schools to state titles in 1998 and 2003. Downes is a two-time State Coach of the Year (1998, 2003) and six-time County Coach of the Year (1995, ’98, ’99, 2001, ’02, ’03).
“Todd has worked with all aspects of the game in his coaching career and will serve as our pitching and catching coach here at Georgia Tech,” said Earleywine. “He is a great communicator and proven pitch caller for the past 13 years.”
Along with tutoring current Tech pitcher Sarah Wood at Walton High School, Downes has also worked as a head and assistant softball coach over the past nine seasons in the East Cobb Fast Pitch Organization. He led five different 18U/Gold travel Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) teams over that span and guided the 2000 team to a ninth-place finish at Gold Nationals.
“In addition to managing the pitchers and catchers, Todd will also serve as our recruiting coordinator,” said Earleywine. “There is no one in the state of Georgia who is better connected with in-state recruits than Todd. He truly enjoys recruiting and follows high school and college softball as close as anyone I know.”
Tucci, a native of Bethel, Conn., led the Red Foxes to their greatest season in school history in 2006. The 2006 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year led Marist to a 33-13 record, its first-ever MAAC championship, and first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. She tutored the conference’s Player and Pitcher of the Year, 11 All-MAAC players, 10 Players of the Week and three NFCA Mid-Atlantic All-Region selections during her five seasons as head coach.
“Melissa has done an outstanding job of building Marist’s program over the past five years and will be a great addition to our coaching staff here at Georgia Tech,” said Earleywine. “What’s most impressive to me about Melissa is not only did she successfully coach and grow that program, but at the same time worked a full-time job as a result of her coaching position being part time. And if that wasn’t enough, she got her master’s degree in the process.”
Tucci also worked a full-time job as a teaching assistant in crisis intervention at Dutchess County BOCES and attended graduate school while mentoring the Marist program, earning her master’s degree in business administration in `05. A four-year letterwinner at Marist (1998-2001), Tucci earned all-conference and all-tournament honors, receiving her bachelor’s degree in business administration in ’01.
“This is a person who isn’t afraid to work,” said Earleywine. “Her primary role will be in working with our outfielders, but will also serve as our first base coach.”