SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University Director of Athletics Bill Smith has announced that Nick French will serve as the head coach of the Bryant University softball program for the 2018-19 season.
French completed his first season as an assistant coach at Bryant in 2018. He helped the Black and Gold win 14 games overall and finish 7-9 in Northeast Conference play.
"It was very clear that Coach French made a positive impact on the program this past year and I want to give him the opportunity to build upon that momentum," Smith said.
French completed his 11th season as a college softball coach this spring and will be serving as a head coach for the second time in his career. This past year, French was in charge of a Bryant offense that made vast improvements from the previous season. The Black and Gold scored 40 more runs, raised their batting average 30 points, on-base percentage by 30 points and slugging percentage by nearly 80 points from the previous year. Bryant hit 13 more home runs and saw several players post career years.
First off I want to thank Bill Smith and President Machtley for the opportunity to lead the softball program," said French. "I am thrilled to be back to my roots of New England softball leading a great program and at a world class institution. We are going to develop strong, confident people who excel in the classroom, on the field, and in the working world after college."
"I think we have a great group of kids coming back and a solid group coming in," added French. "I look forward to us taking the next step in becoming a regular NEC contender."
Prior to his time in Smithfield, served as the assistant softball coach at Towson, working primarily with the pitching staff. Under his watch, the Tigers pitching staff posted an ERA of 3.54 and issued just 96 walks in 328 1/3 innings.
French spent the 2016 season as a volunteer assistant coach at Georgia. He helped in all aspects of the team that helped knock off the two-time defending national champions and top-seeded Florida in one of the greatest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. The upset victory sent the Bulldogs to the WCWS for the first time since the 2010 season.
French spent 2012-15 just up the road in Worcester, Mass., as an assistant coach at Holy Cross. He worked with the pitching staff and assisted in the offensive instruction with the Crusaders. During his time at Holy Cross, French coached eight All-Patriot League selections and two NFCA All-Region honorees. French also oversaw the development of knuckleballer Gennifer Durham who went on to throw the school's first-ever – and the Patriot League's second-ever – perfect game in 2013. In addition, two of his hurlers finished in the top 15 in the nation in fewest walks.
Before his stint in Worcester, French was part of two very successful programs at Memphis and Arizona. At Memphis, French helped the Tigers enjoy their best season (36-14) and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. French also oversaw the academic achievement of a team that finished with a 3.2 GPA and had 16 of 20 student-athletes finish with a 3.0 GPA or better.
At Arizona, French served as a volunteer assistant coach under eight-time national champion and two-time United States Olympic team coach Mike Candrea. French helped the Wildcats to a national runner-up finish as he oversaw the daily operations of the program and assisted with the development of the outfielders.
French served as the interim head coach at Simmons (Mass.) College in 2008 before becoming an assistant coach at Piedmont (Pa.) College. At Piedmont, he coached four all-conference players and the rookie of the year.
He began coaching at the age of 14 under his father, Marty French, who ran the highly-successful Bay State Blaze Junior Olympic program. During that time, he took part in six national tournaments, sending many players on to college programs. He also served as pitching coach at his alma mater, Abington High School, for five years in addition to Emerson College.
A native of Abington, Massachusetts, French attended Emerson College, where he played basketball for a season and assisted with the softball program. He graduated in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and minor in political science. He has previously worked for the Boston Globe and served as a sports editor for the Community Newspaper Company.