SPOKANE, Wash. – Cristal Brown, who led the Whitworth softball team to three consecutive Northwest Conference titles from 2015-2017, has been hired as the new head coach at Idaho State University.
Brown leaves Whitworth after compiling a record of 221-124 in eight seasons guiding the Pirates.
"I have loved being a Pirate and think Whitworth is truly a special place," Brown said. "I am extremely grateful for the relationships that have been established during my eight seasons, and can't say enough about how privileged I feel to have had the opportunity to coach the wonderful young women who have come through the program during my time here. Bucball will always have a very special place in my heart."
Brown led Whitworth to the first regular season conference title in the school's history in 2015, and then claimed two more championships in 2016 and 2017. The Pirates made their second and third NCAA Division III tournament appearances following the 2016 and 2017 seasons and Whitworth won its first NWC tournament in 2017.
The Pirates finished 31-11 overall and 23-5 in the NWC in 2019, just missing another post-season berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Idaho State reached out to Brown to replace Candi Letts, who departed following a 20-27 season in 2019.
"During my visit at ISU, it was evident that the leadership and staff are about doing the right thing and treating people the right way," Brown said. "There is an amazing energy on campus and especially within the athletics department. It is a great time to join the Bengal family, and I am excited and eager to contribute to their pursuit of excellence."
Brown had 38 players named All-Northwest Conference and 17 players receive NFCA All-Region honors over her eight seasons. In 2016 Whitworth posted the third-highest team GPA in all of NCAA DIII softball and had 14 players recognized as scholar-athletes by the NFCA. In 2015 Megan John became the first CoSIDA Division III softball Academic All-American in school history.
"While we are disappointed to lose a great coach, we are grateful for her impact on the softball program and the lives of our student athletes," said Tim Demant, Whitworth's Director of Athletics. "Coach Brown poured her heart and soul into building a championship caliber program with championship quality individuals. We wish her well in her new opportunity."
Whitworth will immediately begin the process of searching for Brown's replacement.