Head Softball Coach Tommy Forrester enters his fifth year at Emory & Henry College with the second-most wins (99) and the highest winning percentage (.589) of any coach in program history. A member of the class of 2004, Forrester returned to E&H in the fall of 2013 to lead the softball program. In 2017, Forrester’s Wasps experienced a banner year. The team broke the school record for wins in a season (35) and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time since 2003 - just the second time in program history. Along the way, the team defeated 10 regionally-ranked opponents including eventual national champion Virginia Wesleyan College. The Wasps broke or tied a remarkable 26 school records – either team or individual – during the 2017 campaign.
Other highlights during Forrester’s first four seasons at the helm include qualifying for postseason play each year, a 13-game winning streak in 2014, two top-three finishes in the ODAC tournament (2017 - Runner-Up, 2015 - Third Place), and a victory in the 2017 NCAA Division III Softball Championship Mount Berry Regional.
Forrester’s student-athletes have excelled both on and off the field. In his first four seasons, 13 women have been selected to All-ODAC teams, three have been honored as NFCA All-Atlantic Region team members and five have been selected to an ODAC All-Tournament team. Academically, the team has raised their GPA from 2.7 to 3.3 during Forrester’s tenure. Two-thirds of the roster was awarded ODAC All-Academic honors in 2017. Also in 2017, senior Danielle Loving, whom Forrester recruited and coached, was named ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Forrester’s teams also participate in a number of camps and service projects around campus and in the community.
In addition to working with student-athletes, Forrester has helped to improve the Emory & Henry softball facilities. With his assistance, Emory & Henry was awarded several grants in 2014 to make improvements at Wasps Field. The College laser graded the field and installed sprinklers, sod, infield mix, fencing, and a scoreboard in Phase I of a three-phase renovation project. In 2016, the facility saw an upgrade in its practice facility and dugouts as a double batting cage with a turf surface was installed along with improved bullpens and remodeled dugouts. Forrester also aided in the process to upgrade the Wasps’ locker room.
Before returning to his alma mater, Forrester spent four years as the Head Softball Coach at Sullivan East High School in Bluff City, Tennessee. After inheriting a struggling program in the fall of 2009, Forrester led the Patriots to three 20-win seasons. He has seen several of his players continue their athletic careers at the college level, including at Emory & Henry. Forrester was able to see the softball facilities at SEHS improve as well when he spearheaded a major fundraising and construction project during 2011 and 2012.
In addition to his coaching duties, Forrester taught in the mathematics department at Sullivan East from 2006 to 2013. He also has taught at the college level, as a Graduate Assistant at Clemson University and at Northeast State Technical Community College. He is currently leading a new coaches mentoring program in the E&H Athletics Department.
During the summer, Forrester enjoys the opportunity to combine three of his passions – mission work, traveling, and softball. He has been running softball camps in the Czech Republic since 2008 in conjunction with the United Methodist Church and has been able to take several of his current and former players and coaches along to assist with the camps.
Forrester was a four-year letterwinner in the infield for the Wasps’ baseball team and was named the team MVP his senior season. He was also a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District III First-Team selection. Forrester graduated magna cum laude in May of 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics. While teaching at Clemson, he completed coursework toward a Master’s Degree in mathematical sciences. A Bluff City, Tennessee native, Forrester currently resides in Bristol, Tennessee.