TAYLOR WOODRING

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Assistant Softball Coach
tbates@cumberland.edu
(615) 547-6361
CU Softball Field
Staff
Athletic Department
B.A., Cumberland University
M.B.A., Cumberland University
Former Mid-South Academic All-Conference, Second Team All-Conference, and 2x Golden Glove outfielder Taylor Woodring joined Cumberland University staff as the Assistant Softball Coach in June of 2021.  Woodring earned her Bachelors of Arts in General Studies from Cumberland University in 2020 and received her Masters in Business Administration from CU in 2021.  

RICHARD WILLIAMS

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Head Men and Womens Golf Coach and Game Day Supervisor
rwilliams@cumberland.edu
(615) 547-1219
Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena
Staff
Athletic Department
B.S., Middle Tennessee State University
Rich Williams begins his seventh season as head golf coach and eighth with the Phoenix golf program in 2019-20. He also serves as the department's Game Operations Director, a title added during the summer of 2016. During his tenure, Williams has coached four NAIA All-Americans--Austin Garrett in 2013-14, Ryan Botts in 2015-16, and Ana Laura Pages Preuss and Raquel Romero Valverde in 2018-19--alongside 38 All-Mid-South Conference players. In the 2018-19 season, Cumberland captured both MSC Freshman of the Year awards with Maria Pilar Scenna for the women and Adrian Steeger on the men's side. His men's teams have won the last three MSC Tournament Championships, earning an an automatic bid to the last three NAIA Championships. The women have recieved at-large bids to the NAIA Championships the last three years. In 2019 he led them to a MSC regular season title before finishing a program record seventh in the NAIA Championships. In his first season as head coach, he led the Cumberland men to its first regular season championship. CU won three times during 2013 and placed second in four other tournaments, earning Williams Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year honors.  Cumberland enjoyed a successful 2016-17 season, winning three tournaments including the MSC Championships and placing second in two others to earn a spot in the NAIA Championships for the men. The women won a single tournament and took second in four others, securing the program's first ever trip to the national tournament. Williams was honored with a Co-MSC Coach of the Year honor for his efforts. The Franklin, Tenn., native has worked in a variety of roles within the golf industry, including as an assistant and head professional at Indian Hills Golf Club in Murfreesboro, The Little Course as Aspen Grove, The Polo Club in Boca Raton, Fla., and Gaylord Springs Golf Club in Nashville. He was an independent sales representative in the golf industry from 1998-2007. In his Game Operations role, Williams oversees all aspects of set-up and breakdown for home athletic events at football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, baseball and softball, including staffing for ticketing and marketing, security for officials, locker rooms for visiting teams and scheduling for the Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena. Williams received his bachelor's in Psychology from Middle Tennessee in 1992 and is currently working on his master's in Public Service Management at Cumberland.    

JAMES WILSON

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Athletic Trainer
jkwilson@cumberland.edu
(615) 547-1292
Main Athletic Training Building
Staff
Athletic Department
B.S., University of South Carolina
M.S., East Stroudsburg University

STEPHANIE THEALL

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Head Softball Coach
stheall@cumberland.edu
(615) 453-6361
CU Softball Field
Staff
Athletic Department
B.S., Cumberland University
M.S.S.E.P., Cumberland University
Former All-Conference infielder Stephanie Theall (formerly Gutierrez) joined the Cumberland staff as a full-time assistant in January 2016. This marks her eighth year as an assistant coach at her alma mater. She has spent ten of the last 11 years at Cumberland as either a student-athlete or coach. Hernandez garnered First Team All-Mid-South honors and Torregano and Courtney Miles earned Second Team All-MSC. Six players were named Academic All-Mid-South. The Orlando, Fla., native spent a year-and-a-half on the staff at Centre College in Danville, Ky., with the Colonels compiling a 14-18 record in 2015. She coached one Second Team and one Third Team All-Conference player as well as an Honorable Mention All-Conference performer while at Centre. Gutierrez served as a student assistant at CU during the 2012 season after finishing her playing career and was a graduate assistant for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Cumberland posted a 37-22 mark in 2013, advancing to the NAIA Championship Opening Round for the first time in program history. Gutierrez earned a bachelor's in Sports Management from Cumberland in 2012 and a master's in Sport and Exercise Pedagogy at CU in 2014. She married former Cumberland football player Grant Theall in January 2016.    

HANNAH VADAKIN

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Head Womens Volleyball Coach
hvadakin@cumberland.edu
(615) 547-1253
Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena
Staff
Athletic Department
B.A., Coker College
Hannah Vadakin begins her fourth season as a full-time assistant coach with the Phoenix after spending the previous two years as a graduate assistant at Doane College in Nebraska. In 2018, Vadakin was selected as the AVCA Southern Region Assistant Coach of the Year. She also led the Phoenix Women's JV team to 11-3-2 record earning themselves Mid-South Conference JV Champions.  The Centennial, Colo., native played for three seasons at NCAA Division II Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., posting 166 kills, 87 blocks and 36 service aces as a sophomore for the Cobras. As a junior she collected 147 kills, 49 digs, 80 blocks and 25 service aces and finished her senior campaign with 74 kills and 23 blocks. During the last two seasons at Doane, Vadakin helped Shelbi Mlynczak to a pair of Second Team All-Great Plains Athletic Conference honors while Haley Norvell and Breanna Fye earned Honorable Mention All-GPAC accolades in 2015 and Julie Els was an Honorable Mention selection in 2014. The Tigers finished 19-13 this past season, 9-7 in GPAC action, and were 15-19 in 2014. At Doane she was responsible for recruiting, managing events, coordinating logistics, fundraising and supervising work study students. She also spent time as the head coach of the Nebraska Juniors for one year and served as an assistant coach at Rock Canyon High School for two summers. Vadakin attended Littleton High School, earning three letters and Honorable Mention All-State accolades as a senior for the Lions. She earned her bachelor's in Business Administration and Political Science from Coker in 2014 and received a master's in Management from Doane in 2016.  

TYLER SMITH

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Assistant Wrestling Coach
tssmith@cumberland.edu
(615) 453-6328
Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena
Staff
Athletic Department
M.A., Southeastern University
Former Cumberland alum returns to the Wrestling program as an assistant coach. Smith comes to Cumberland from Celebration High School in Celebration, FL where he was the Head Wrestling Coach. While at Celebration, he coached three FHSAA state qualifiers, two of those being state placers. During his time as head coach he compiled 48 dual meets wins, 4x district runner-up, and an appearance in the region duals finals. In 2019, he was named Orange Belt Conference Coach of the year. Smith served as a graduate assistant at Southeastern University for two seasons. During his time as an assistant coach, Southeastern produced 4 NAIA All-Americans, 10 NAIA national qualifiers, and a 12th place finish at the NAIA National Tournament. Smith was a NAIA National Qualifier and team captain for Cumberland University, as well as a three-year starter for the Phoenix. He was a member of the 2015-16 Mid-South Conference championship team, and was ranked as high as 8th in the nation. He was a runner up at the GHSA State Championships for Sonoraville High School. He graduated from Cumberland with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance with an emphasis in Education in May 2016. In 2018, He graduated with a Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership from Southeastern University.  

TAUREAN SMITH

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Assistant Football Coach
tsmith@cumberland.edu
(615) 547-1344
Football Athletic Training Building
Staff
Athletic Department
B.S., Western Kentucky University
Taurean Smith returns to the Cumberland staff as the defensive coordinator. Smith spent the last five years at NCAA Division II Kentucky Wesleyan, serving as the associate head coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator. In his first season, he helped the Panthers to a 7-4 mark, the best record in program history, just one year after a winless season. He improved the defense in nearly every statistical category en route to the program’s first winning season in 15 years. Smith was named Interim Head Coach at Kentucky Wesleyan this past August, posting a 3-7 mark. During his time in Owensboro, 11 KWC players earned All-Conference accolades, including First Team recognition for defensive back Alijah McGhee, who led the Great Midwest Athletic Conference with seven pass break-ups and six interceptions, and Second Team honors for defensive end Dalan Cofer. Smith also coached G-MAC Special Teams Player of the Year Keelan Cole, who now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons at Cumberland, working primarily with the linebackers as well as helping with special teams. His linebacker trio ranked first, third and fifth in tackles for the Bulldogs in 2012, accumulating 16.0 tackles for loss with one sack, one interception and three interceptions. Connor McChurch earned Second Team All-Mid-South Conference honors for the year. In 2013 the tandem ranked first, third and fourth in tackles with four interceptions, 11 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and 10 quarterback hurries. The group also forced five fumbles while Nathan Jernigan garnered Second Team All-MSC accolades and was also named MSC Freshman of the Year. Smith coached one season as a graduate assistant at Bethel University, working with linebackers. Stayce Whipple garnered First Team All-Mid-South Conference accolades that year. He was in charge of breaking down opponent film and drawing scouting cards for the Wildcats, who posted an 8-3 overall record, falling in the first round of the NAIA Playoffs. His coaching career started as a student assistant at his alma mater, Western Kentucky, assisting with linebackers and special teams. He also broke down film and assisted with daily recruiting on campus activities. Smith played two seasons for the Hilltoppers at inside linebacker for coach David Elson. He played in 24 career games at WKU, compiling 88 tackles as a senior with 5.5 tackles for loss as well as one interception and two forced fumbles. He recorded double-digit tackles in three straight contests, including 13 at Navy, and returned an interception 16 yards against South Florida. He ended his career with 11 tackles against Arkansas State. Smith posted 49 stops as a junior with one fumble recovery and one pass breakup, including four tackles and a pass breakup versus Virginia Tech. He recorded a team-best 10 stops with a sack against Ball State and notched eight tackles versus Florida International. He played two seasons at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, earning Male Student-Athlete of the Year honors as a sophomore. He earned First Team All-Region and All-Minnesota Community College Conference honors as a sophomore, registering 118 total tackles, eighth best in the nation, along with seven interceptions and eight tackles for loss. He recorded 25 tackles against Ridgewater Community College and was credited with 18 stops and two interceptions versus Vermillion Community College. Smith paced the Spartans with 102 tackles along with three forced fumbles as a freshman, garnering Second Team All-MCCC accolades. He was a three-year letterwinner at Perry High School in Perry, Ga., twice earning the Coaches’ Award. He posted 88 tackles as a senior, helping the Panthers play their first-ever home playoff game, and registered 82 stops with three sacks and two fumble recoveries as a junior. Smith made 64 tackles as a sophomore and also earned three letters in basketball. Smith received his bachelor’s in Physical Education from Western Kentucky in 2011.  

MARCELLE (MARDY) SCALES

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Head Coach, Men and Women Track and Field
mscales@cumberland.edu
(615) 547-1293
Phoenix Plaza
Staff
Athletic Department
B.S., Middle Tennessee State University
Seven-time NCAA All-American Mardy Scales was named head coach for track and field at Cumberland by Director of Athletics Ron Pavan. Cumberland is set to begin competition during the 2016-17 academic year. The Franklin, Tenn., native and Centennial High School product was a seven-time All-American for legendary track coach Dean Hayes at Middle Tennessee State University from 2001-04, winning the NCAA 100-meter outdoor collegiate title as a junior. Scales earned Sun Belt Conference Male Athlete of the Year honors as a senior for the Blue Raiders and was a seven-time Sun Belt Conference champion. He set Sun Belt Championships records in winning the 100 and 200-meters outdoors in 2004 and his 10.12 in the 100 was the fastest by any collegian that year. He fell one-tenth of a second short of defending his outdoor national championship in the 100 in a photo finish with Arkansas’ Tyson Gay and TCU’s Michael Frater. He ran track professionally from 2004-09 with Nike, representing the United States in various athletic events around the globe, maintaining a strict schedule and practice discipline to compete at the highest level. Scales was a Pan American Games silver medalist in the 100 in 2003 and a member of the USA Track & Field World Championship Team in 2005 after winning the USA Indoor 60-meter championship that year. He served as track and field coach at Centennial High School for one season in 2009 and started the Scales Pro AAU Track Club as well as Scales Pro Fitness in Franklin in 2013. He has a Level 1 USA Track & Field Coaching Certification. Scales has helped begin the program at Cumberland and produced the first national champion in program history last year; Charles Shimukowa won the 800m Indoor National Championship. Scales earned his bachelor’s in Physical Education from Middle Tennessee in 2013 and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame this fall.  

JAMES SECKEL

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Head Coach, Men and Women Cross Country
jseckel@cumberland.edu
(615) 547-9403
Cross Country
Staff
Athletic Department
B.S., United States Military Academy
Jim Seckel enters his fifth season in 2019-20 as the cross country coach, and also coaches the distance events during the track and field season.  Seckel was named Cumberland University cross country coach on December 18, 2014, taking over the program after serving as the cross country and distance track coach at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, Tenn., for two years. The Camarillo, Calif., native has coached runners at multiple levels since 1995, including high school and youth clubs as well as serving as a private coach. Since taking over the program in 2014, Seckel has produced 12 NAIA National Qualifiers, 32 All-Conference runners, 9 Conference Runners of the Week, and a Conference Freshman of the Year.  His student-athletes have likewise excelled in the classroom and in the community, with 7 NAIA Scholar-Athlete designations, 29 Academic All-Conference designations, two Mid-South Conference Champions of Character, two USTF-CCCA Scholar-Athletes, and one Cumberland University Lindsey Donnell Scholar-Athlete.  Seckel was also voted at Mid-South Conference Women’s Coach of the Year in 2018. Notable achievements during Seckel’s tenure include distance runners winning six conference championships in track:  Jordan Hill (800m Outdoor, 2017); Joel Barlow (3000m Indoor, 2018); Taylor Blankenship (1000m Indoor, 2018); Men’s DMR (Indoor, 2018); Women’s DMR (Outdoor, 2019) and Cornelius Kipchumba (10000m Outdoor, 2019).  Blankenship also became the cross country program’s first two-time national qualifier, with appearances in both the 2017 and 2018 national meet. Seckel has been a competitive runner since 1980 and has competed at all levels, progressing through youth track programs, middle school, high school and collegiate levels. Following college graduation, he continued to compete in national and regional-level road races and continues to compete as a Masters athlete.  A veteran road racer and marathoner, he has completed 35 marathons, including a string of eleven consecutive Boston Marathons. He is a USA Track & Field Level 2 Certified Coach (Endurance Specialty) and also certified with the Road Runners Club of America and the National Federation of High Schools as an Accredited Interscholastic Coach. Seckel graduated from the US Military Academy with a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in 1990 and served five years as a captain in the US Army. He has enjoyed a 30-year career in the building construction and engineering industry in both the Army and in the corporate world.  He also graduated with a Master’s in Coaching and Athletic Administration (summa cum laude) from Concordia University – Irvine in 2016. Seckel is married to the former Judy Bowman and the couple lives in Lebanon, Tenn. The couple’s daughter, Kristen, is a Recruiting Specialist at Aramark in Nashville.  
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