Catamount Softball Complex
Construction of the on-campus Catamount Softball Complex began in the fall of 2004 and was completed during the following fall. Western Carolina opened the complex in February of 2006. WCU's softball facilities are located on the north end of the campus, accessible from the Walker "A" parking lot. The venue is skirted down the right-field side by the picturesque Cullowhee Creek.
The Catamount Softball Complex features both home and visiting dugouts and bullpens, with the home dugout including access to the team locker room, athletic training station and storage facilities. A 250-seat grand stand seating area is capped by a fully functional press box with restrooms, concessions and a ticket booth in an adjoining building behind the stadium. There is also a covered batting cage down the left field line on the home side of the complex.
The field's dimensions are 200-feet all around the symmetrical outfield with an eight-foot high fence encircling the facility. Originally designed with an all-dirt infield from the edge of the outfield grass to behind home plate, the grounds received an upgrade prior to the 2008 season to include an extended warning track down both foul lines to behind home plate. Grass was also installed in foul territory down either line to behind home plate, dividing the playing field from the warning track.
Western Carolina opened the Catamount Softball Complex on February 19, 2006 with a double-header sweep of South Carolina State, winning game one 10-0 in five innings and taking the backend of the twin bill, 7-1. The Catamounts posted a 41-20 overall record in their inaugural year and became the first-ever, first-year program to win the Southern Conference regular season championship, sweeping the College of Charleston with a dramatic, 2-1, win on April 30, 2006 to claim the crown.
History of Catamount Softball:
Western Carolina sponsored a slow-pitch softball program from 1978-1985. An AIAW Division II school for four of those years, WCU transitioned to an NCAA Division I school during the 1981-82 school year.
Former athletic administrator Betty Peele commissioned the Catamount softball squad and led the team all eight years, compiling a record of 190-103 for a .648 winning percentage during that span. Also during the eight-year run, WCU played in three regional tournaments and three AIAW National Tournaments, finishing fifth in both national tournament appearances. The Catamounts additionally won two North Carolina State Invitational Championships in 1982 and '84.
In 1985, the NCAA required its Division I members to sponsor eight men's sports and six women's sports. Therefore, effective as of the 1985-96 season, WCU realigned its athletic programs and rifle, men's soccer and softball were dropped to make way for women's tennis and track and field.
Western Carolina began plans for reviving the dormant softball program with a fast-pitch squad prior to 2004 with Megan Smith hired in July of that year in preparation for the return of the sport during the spring semester, 2006.