Former Chattanooga Softball Standout Michelle (Fuzzard) LaCourse Inducted into Southern Conference Hall of Fame

SPARTANBURG, SC – Former Chattanooga softball standout Michelle (Fuzzard) LaCourse is the newest member of the Southern Conference Hall of Fame Class of 2022, the league office announced Thursday afternoon.

LaCourse is the fourth former Moc to be inducted into the SoCon Hall of Fame. She joins NFL Hall of Famer and Chattanooga football, men’s basketball and track & field star Terrell Owens (1992-95), who was inducted in 2020 as well as women’s basketball standout Regina Kirk (1984-88) and cross country and track & field All-American Shannon Womack (2002-06), who was both inducted in 2011.

“We have such a great tradition of softball here at UTC and Michelle is one of the best to ever play here,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Mark Wharton. “It’s a tremendous honor for her de ella and for the program that has sustained tremendous success for decades.”

As a student-athlete, Michelle ranks first in the Chattanooga record books for most runs batted in (217) and total bases (453) along with numerous top five all-time rankings. LaCourse also holds the record for slugging percentage (.846), on base percentage (.543) and most runs batted in (75) in a single season.

“Michelle was a real coaches’ player. She came to play every day and it didn’t matter if she was injured or not… she was playing for her team,” said Head Coach Frank Reed. “When she came here, she was a first basemen who pitched. When she left she was a pitcher who played first. When she came off the ACL injury, she came back stronger than she ever was. She took adversity and turned it into a positive and that’s what led to her SoCon Student-Athlete of the Year honor in 2012. Michelle was an all-around player an incredible leader on and off the field. I am extremely happy for her and she is very deserving of this honor.”

LaCourse made an impact from day one as a Moc. She was the SoCon Freshman of the Year in 2008 and Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012 posting first team all-league honors in all four years of competition. In 2012, LaCourse was the first softball player to become the Southern Conference Female Athlete of the Year. That same year, she was named a College Sports Madness All-American and honored as a second team all-region selection. Chattanooga won SoCon Regular Season Championships all four years (includes her redshirt season due to injury in 2010) advancing to three NCAA Regionals along the way with three league tournament titles.

“I would first like to extend my utmost gratitude to the Southern Conference for considering me for this incredible honor,” said LaCourse. “This award is one that recognizes the Chattanooga softball program as a whole.”

She led the 2011 team to the brink of the super regionals for the first time in the program’s history, earning NFCA All-South Second Team mention. In 2011, LaCourse bounced back from ACL surgery in a big way with a team-best 18 wins in the circle including seven shutouts. She drove in a school and league-record 75 runs as well as becoming the clear player of the year choice for the conference.

The career .368 hitter set the Mocs RBI record with 178 and was just shy of the conference mark of 184. LaCourse set the single season Southern Conference record for RBI (74) in 2012. She was the first player in the SoCon to earn First Team (1B) and Second Team (P) honors in the same season (2009).

A two-time NFCA All-South Region second-team selection and a three-time SoCon All-Tournament Team pick, LaCourse was named the SoCon Player of the Week eight times in her career, second-most in league history, and SoCon Player of the Month three times, sharing that record with three others. She also earned SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors eleven.

As a senior in 2012, she was one of three SoCon nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award and was one of 30 national candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. She was a member of the Academic All-SoCon squad in 2012 and earned spots on the SoCon Academic Honor Roll in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Offensively in the Southern Conference record book, LaCourse currently ranks fifth in career batting average (.371), fifth in hits (267), the record holder for career RBI (216), second in doubles (56), tied for fourth in home runs (43), fifth in walks (104), tied for the most career sacrifice flies (13), second in total bases (452), eighth in runs (52), first in RBI (74 and fifth in on-base percentage (.456).

LaCourse joined the Chattanooga Mocs softball staff in 2013 after a stellar playing career. She worked primarily with the pitching staff, while also assisting with hitting and fielding.

As a coach, LaCourse assisted Chattanooga to its 13th Southern Conference Championship title and its 14th SoCon regular season title in 2015. Working with the pitchers, she led the staff to a 35-14 record including three SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors and the February SoCon Pitcher of the Month Selection. The pitching staff, made up of Taylor Deason, Cori Jennings and Kailey Palazzolo, combined for a SoCon-best 2.90 ERA.

In 2014, LaCourse helped the Mocs to their 12th SoCon title. She guided Katie Henderson to 33 consecutive scoreless innings against Western Carolina, Appalachian State, Furman, Samford, and UNCG (May 3 – May 10, 2014). Henderson’s 19-12 record and 181 strikeouts earned her the 2014 Southern Conference Most Outstanding Player.

Michelle spent the 2013 season as a volunteer assistant coach with Chattanooga in her first year on the bench. As the pitching coach, LaCourse’s staff totaled 27 wins and three shutouts.

“My teammates, coaches and support staff pushed me to be my personal best every day and I have them to thank for any successes I accomplished on the field,” LaCourse concluded. “My time in blue and gold is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

LaCourse is the fourth member of the SoCon Hall of Fame Class of 2022 to be announced. The league office will announce the fifth and final member on Friday afternoon.

SoCon Hall of Fame Class of 2022
DeShawne Blocker, ETSU, Women’s Basketball
Kirk Roach, Western Carolina, Football
Anita Buggins, Georgia Southern, Women’s Tennis
Michelle Fuzzard (LaCourse), UTC, Softball
TBA (Friday, May 20)

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