The ULM Warhawks have a new softball coach.

A native of Houston, Texas, Fichtner spent last season as an assistant coach at East Carolina, after previously serving for two seasons as an assistant at Dartmouth.

A 2014 graduate of Alabama, Fichtner played two seasons there, earning  All-SEC Second Team accolades as a senior, after pacing the Crimson Tide with a .391 batting average, prior to becoming a volunteer assistant coach in Tuscaloosa.

So, how good of a hire is this for ULM?

Well, from the people I talk to, the Warhawks did pretty well, as Fichtner seems to be well-respected.

Is it a gamble? Yes. But under the circumstances, the hire might be worth the risk.

What are the circumstances?

Former coach Corey Lyon resigned in early August to take a job as an assistant at Marshall.

Lyon, who compiled an overall record of 111-115 in four years at ULM, wanted his contract, with only one year remaining, extended, but was turned down.

I understand Lyon's decision, as ULM's athletic department is now being run by Interim Athletic Director Scott McDonald, who didn't hire Lyon.

I also understand McDonald not wanting to immediately extend Lyon, as he didn't hire him.

Still, you don't see a head coach leave his/her position to take a job as an assistant very often. That just looks odd.

Now, it should be pointed out that Lyon has been dating new Marshall softball coach Megan Smith since last December, so I'm sure that made his decision easier, but a coach is supposed to go from being an assistant at Marshall to being the head coach at ULM, not the other way around.

It's also hard for a coach to come in at this point. Fichtner can get some mid-term transfers in December and January, but she'll enter 2019 without a recruiting class, which is difficult.

The final thing is that ULM is hurting, financially, right now. The program just doesn't have the money to go out and get a big name coach, who has a solid resume.

Again; hiring Fichtner is a little bit of a risk, but one worth taking, if you're ULM.

She's young, only in her mid-20's, has never been a head coach, and has only been an assistant for three years.

But this is the type of coach ULM needs; someone with a lot of energy, the ability to recruit, can relate to players, the ability to generate some excitement within the fan base, and a vision for the future.

Three more years, and ULM may not have been able to hire Fichtner.

To get somebody like her, someone who everybody I talk to has high praise for, they have to take the risk of hiring her now.

Considering that ULM had to find a coach after the former coach left in early August, and considering the fact that ULM is behind most schools, in terms of funding, facilities, and prestige, is looks as though the Warhawks did well in hiring Fichtner.

Congratulations to Fichtner on getting the job, and we welcome her to the Sun Belt Conference.