BRISTOL, Tenn. – King University Director of Athletics David Hicks announced the hire of Jake Cockerham to lead the Tornado softball program. Cockerham was an assistant under Jenn Testa for the last four years.
"It is an honor to be named the next head softball coach at King University, and to lead what is truly a first-class softball program at an outstanding institution," Cockerham said. "I want to first thank God for leading me every step of the way to this unbelievable opportunity. I also want to thank my wife Hannah for all of her support throughout my coaching career and also being the best mother to our son Elijah."
"Last but not least, I want to thank David Hicks for putting his faith in me as a person and a softball coach, and also Jenn Testa for the opportunity she gave me four years ago as an assistant coach," continued Cockerham. "I will ensure that the King softball program continues to represent King's vision for athletics, but most of all, for academics and in the community."
Cockerham helped the Tornado to back-to-back 30-win seasons each of the past two years, marking the second time in program history the Tornado have had consecutive 30-win campaigns. Last season he helped the Tornado win their second Conference Carolinas Softball Tournament championship, making their second NCAA Southeast Regional appearance.
"I am so excited for Jake and this opportunity for him," Testa said. "He has worked so hard for this and I can't think of anyone more deserving. Like me, he is a product of King and he believes in the mission and values of the school. I know he will continue to build on the foundation that has been laid and I look forward to watching him continue to grow this program."
King finished runner-up to top-ranked University of North Georgia at the 2018 NCAA Southeast Regional. The Tornado earned wins over Queens University and Coker College, the first wins in the NCAA Tournament for any King team since becoming NCAA Division II members.
"As a King graduate, Jake embodies the King spirit and lives out our mission in his daily life and impresses it upon our student-athletes," Hicks said. "His work ethic is, and always has been, second to none. He works tirelessly at recruiting, and is an exceptional recruiter. The future of our softball program is bright, and being led by one of the rising young stars in the sport."
In 2016 and 2017, Cockerham helped the Tornado offense rank among Conference Carolinas' leaders, leading the league in slugging percentage in 2016, and following that with a record-breaking 2017 season. In 2017 King led the league and set school records with 462 hits, .324 batting average, .399 on base percentage and .450 slugging percentage.
Under Cockerham's tutelage, the Tornado had a pair of all-region players in 2018. Hannah Riddle became the first player in program history to earn first accolades while Jenna Burnett garnered second team honors.
Cockerham will assume the head coach role on August 1.