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Thursday, July 11, 2019

This Bison Update Presented by NHL Shop! A Look Back at Howard Softball Under Coach Tyson Year One

The Coach Tyson Era begins with a splash
St. Louis Blues 2019 Stanley Cup Champs Gear and Collectibles
(Photo Credit – Lawrence Johnson)

WASHINGTON (July 11, 2019) – With last season in the rearview and the 2020 year on the horizon, let’s look back to the Howard University Softball 2019 campaign as they made huge strides under first-year head coach Tori Tyson.

“I am so proud of everything we were able to accomplish, especially with the limitations,” said Tyson. “We could have used [those limitations] as excuses, [but] the only thing I asked when we started practices and games was to compete. This group raised the bar and helped set a standard that all winning cultures need. I am excited about the future of Howard Softball.”


In only her first season, Coach Tyson revitalized the program with several victories throughout the year. HU reached the postseason for the first time since 2015 while grabbing their first tourney win in eight seasons (2011). Additionally, the Bison's 19 victories are the most since 2012.

In league play, Howard finished over .500 for the first time since 2010 while picking up series victories over Delaware State (first time since 2010) and Norfolk State (first time since 2012). HU grabbed a win against Morgan State for the first time since 2015.


On Nov. 1, Howard University Director of Athletics Kery Davis announced the hiring of Tori Tyson as the new head coach of the softball program.

Tyson came to Howard from the University of Maryland, College Park where she assisted in leading the Terps to their first Big 10 appearance since 2015.

Before joining Maryland, she led Cal State Fullerton to two straight NCAA Regional appearances and two Big West Conference Championships. During her tenure, two pitchers went on to win Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year and Big West Pitcher of the Year.


On Feb. 9, a 4-3 walk-off win over Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) southern-division foe, North Carolina Central, secured win No. 1 for the Howard University softball team, as well as etching head coach Tori Tyson's first career victory into the books.

Tyson’s first career victory catapulted several nonconference wins, including UNC Wilmington, which marked the program’s first out of conference victory since 2016.


The MEAC unveiled its 2019 softball postseason honors where freshmen Kalita Dennis (Elk Grove, Calif.), Xzarria Simmons (Escondido, Calif.) and Camille Navarro (Los Angeles) receive recognition. The trio of Bison made All-MEAC Second Team; however, Dennis headlined the afternoon after winning the 2019 MEAC Rookie of the Year award. As a result, Dennis became only the third Bison to win the award since 2006 (Rebecca Kirshner [2009] and Courtney Young [2007]).


For her outstanding performance during the 2019 season, Howard University softball newcomer Kalita Dennis (Elk Grove, Calif.) was selected as one of the top 25 candidates for the honorable Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year award. This was the first time in the program’s history that a student-athlete was recognized.

Dennis was the only MEAC freshman and student-athlete from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) on this year's list.


For the program's future, Coach Tyson returns All-MEAC honorees Kalita Dennis (Elk Grove, Calif.), Camille Navarro (Los Angeles) and Xzarria Simmons (Escondido, Calif.), along with the league's top-hitting attack.

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