SPOKANE, Wash. -- Whitworth University has selected Cristal Brown, a successful high school coach from Kingsburg, Calif. and a former small-college All-American as a player, to be the next head softball coach for the Pirates. Whitworth Director of Athletics Warren Friedrichs made the announcement official Monday.

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“We wanted to move forward quickly to find a softball coach that could continue the improvement in our program and we wanted an experienced coach who was a great fit for the Whitworth mission,” Friedrichs said. “Cristal Brown is that person. She brings enthusiasm and confidence as she takes over the Pirate softball team.”

Brown just completed her fourth season as the head coach at Kingsburg High School. During her four seasons, the Vikings went 101-29, won four Central Sequoia League championships, won a Central Section (CIF) crown in 2008 and finished as Central Section runners-up in 2009. She is a three-time Central Sequoia League Coach of the Year honoree.

Yet Brown was ready to make the jump to collegiate coaching and she chose to make that career transition at Whitworth.

“The mission and vision of Whitworth fits well with the impact that I would like to have on the lives of young people,” she said.

Her previous coaching experience includes two seasons as the assistant varsity coach at Valencia High School and two years (2002 and 2003) as an assistant coach with The Master’s College, her alma mater.

“I look forward to being able to create a team atmosphere that will allow for positive experiences for the girls that they will remember as some of the best times of their lives,” Brown said.

She has worked as a history teacher at both Valencia and Kingsburg, in addition to her duties as a coach.

Brown was an outstanding player herself. She was the Western State Conference Junior College Player of the Year in 1998 at Bakersfield JC before earning Second Team NAIA All-America honors at Azusa Pacific in 2000. During her only year at Azusa, Brown set single-season records for games played (68), at-bats (234) and stolen bases (40 out of 44). Brown helped lead the Cougars to a 53-15 record, a GSAC crown and a runner-up finish at the NAIA tournament.

Brown left APU to play her final year at The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, Calif., where she joined Randy Clark, who had been her coach in high school and who had taken over as the head coach for the first year of the Mustang program.

Brown follows Joe Abraham, who coached three years at Whitworth and accumulated a win-loss record of 53-58 before he left to return home to Ohio. The Pirates went 17-11 in the Northwest Conference to finish in third place in 2011. Whitworth had only two senior starters and often took the field with six first-year players in the starting lineup.

“I am excited about the future of the Whitworth softball program under Cristal’s leadership,” Friedrichs said. “Joe did a very good job putting our team in position to have future success and I think Cristal is the right person to take our team to the next level.”