Pickett resigns after 15 years atop NSU softball program

Donald Pickett, Northwestern State’s all-time leader coaching wins as the softball head coach, resigned on Wednesday after 15 years atop the Lady Demon program. 

A search for NSU’s head softball coach position will begin immediately. 

In his 15-year career in Natchitoches, Pickett amassed 390 victories, the only coach to win more than 300 games in program history, led the Demons to back-to-back Southland Conference Tournament titles in 2013 and 2014, another conference regular season crown in 2015 and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and produced 10 winning seasons. 

“Donald Pickett truly is one of the good people in our industry,” Director of Athletics Kevin Bostian said. “He rebuilt the Northwestern State softball program in his image – that of hard work, a competitive drive and dedication to completing whatever task needed to be accomplished.  

“Coach Pickett’s numbers speak for themselves and have a place at the top of Northwestern State’s record books, but the impact he made on the student-athletes he coached has and will continue to be seen for years to come.” 

During his time at NSU, he coached some of most prolific players in program history including three-time all-conference selections Kellye Kincannon, Tara McKenney and Cassandra Barefield and 2015 conference pitcher of the year Mikayla Brown. He also coached 2022 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year Sage Hoover as well as six different NFCA all-region honorees. 

Pickett-coached players hold at least five spots in the single-season top 10 record book of seven offensive categories – batting average, runs scored, RBI, home runs, doubles, slugging percentage and walks. 

His players are listed among the top five in 12 different career offensive categories with four of the top five home run hitters in program history all playing for Pickett between 2012-17. 

After taking over the program in 2009, Pickett engineered the largest single-season turnaround in program history with 22 more wins, setting the stage for NSU’s return to one of the elite programs in the Southland Conference. 

Just three years later, Pickett began one of the best three-year runs ever by going 106-55 (.658) from 2013-15, the second-highest winning percentage in any three-year window that also produced two of NSU’s five conference tournament titles. 

In 2013, Pickett was voted LSWA Coach of the Year after leading the team to its best winning percentage (.727), the longest winning streak (11) since 1998, the fewest losses (15) since 1983 and the best 20-game start (16-4) since 1990. 

His on-field reconstruction and success was also seen in the facilities as the Lady Demon Diamond saw countless improvements to the stadium and surrounding complex during his tenure. NSU hosted three SLC Tournaments during Pickett’s tenure. 

A Tennessee native, Pickett has been a coach for more than 20 years since beginning his career at Chattanooga Community College near his hometown of Whitwell.