Portland State University softball coach Tobin Echo-Hawk accepted the head coaching job at the University of Texas El Paso last week after leading the Vikings to the NCAA playoffs four times in her five seasons. The school has started a nation wide search for a successor, but a top choice resides in PSU’s backyard.

Mt. Hood CC softball coach Meadow McWhorter is ready for the Division I stage after building the Saints program into the premier junior college stop in the Northwest. With McWhorter at the helm, the Saints reeled off three straight Northwest titles (2009-2011) and spent the entire 2013 season atop the Northwest rankings before coming in third at the championship tournament. Mt. Hood CC finished this past season with a 39-7 mark.

The numbers don’t lie — McWhorter’s teams know how to win.

She also knows how to recruit.

The Saints landed four players on the South Region all-star list, including Player of the Year Teauna Hughes and Pitcher of the Year Ann-Marie Guischler — both rookies.

Portland State has a storied history in softball as a Division II national powerhouse in the 1980s and early ‘90s to the inaugural Big Sky Conference champion when the league officially added the sport this spring.

Portland State can be confident that a coach out of Mt. Hood CC can find Division I success. The Vikings have used the recipe before.

Michael Seemann was hired as Portland State’s volleyball coach in 2007, taking the reins of the school’s most successful program. The team has continued to excel under his leadership, winning four Big Sky titles over the last six years. The Vikings are 81-19 in league matches over that span and have never finished lower than second place.

Seemann first made his mark as the head volleyball coach at Mt. Hood CC where he spent four seasons, culminating with back-to-back Northwest crowns in 2000 and 2001.

McWhorter is capable of that same success on the softball diamond, especially taking over a local program where she has developed strong recruiting connections.

Portland State should keep an open coaching search, but the search committee would be amiss if it overlooked McWhorter in the shadow of Mount Hood.

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