The Loyola softball team officially hired its new head coach Monday afternoon.
Alicia Abbott is set to take over as the Ramblers’ head coach, Loyola Athletics Director Steve Watson announced in a press release. Abbott takes over for Jeff Tylka, whose contract wasn’t renewed after five years and a 111-141 record at the helm, The Phoenix reported.
“We are excited to add someone of Alicia’s pedigree to our staff,” Watson said in a statement. “As a Chicagoland native and former associate head coach at Northern Illinois, she has a proven track record when it comes to recruiting in the Chicago area and the Midwest. She has demonstrated a high standard for excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Great things are in store for our softball program under Alicia’s leadership.”
Abbott spent the last five seasons as the associate head coach at Northern Illinois University in west suburban DeKalb, where she helped the Huskies to a 147-123 record over that time and a 2016 Mid-American Conference West Division title.
A native of south suburban New Lenox, Abbott played collegiate softball at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) from 2008-09 and North Carolina State University from 2010-11. She was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year in 2008 at UIC.
“I am humbled and ecstatic to be part of this chapter in Rambler Athletics at the helm of the softball program,” Abbott said in a statement. “I would like to thank both Steve Watson and Holly Strauss-O’Brien for the opportunity to take a group of young women, who have set high standards both on and off the field, to embrace the chance we have at making a mark in the Missouri Valley Conference.”
Loyola went 25-25 last season under Tylka and is set to return 12 players to the roster in 2020, including first team All-Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) first baseman Allyson Ivey and second team All-MVC outfielders Shannon McGee and Jessica Shields.