STEPHANIE VANBRAKLE PROTHRO | ASSISTANT COACH
Stephanie VanBrakle Prothro enters her seventh season as the University of Alabama’s pitching coach in 2018.
In her first season guiding the Alabama pitching staff in 2012, she helped the Crimson Tide win its first national championship. Behind the right arm of Jaclyn Traina, the 2012 team rolled through the postseason, winning the Southeastern Conference regular season title for the third-straight year and then claiming the SEC Tournament title before advancing through the NCAA Regional and Super Regional rounds and finally capturing the coveted national championship.
Prothro was instrumental in the development of Traina. In her first season as the ace of the staff, Traina was named an NFCA first team All-American and the SEC Pitcher of the Year. Traina led the nation with a school record 42 wins and struck out 361 batters, another Tide all-time best. The following season in 2013, Traina again earned NFCA and Easton All-America honors. As a senior in 2014, Traina was again named a First Team All-American and took home SEC Pitcher of the Year honors, helping lead the Tide to a runner-up finish at the Women’s College World Series.
In 2015, Prothro oversaw a pitching staff that included SEC Freshman of the Year Alexis Osorio, a First Team All-American and top three finalists for the NFCA Freshman of the Year award. Sophomore Sydney Littlejohn also threw a pair of perfect games, becoming the first Tide pitcher to throw a perfect game since Prothro did so as a player for Alabama in 2006. Littlejohn was tabbed a Second Team All-American in 2016 and earned national accolades following two wins on the road against then-top ranked Florida during the regular season.
On opening weekend of the 2017 season, Osorio threw the program's fourth perfect game in a win over Coastal Carolina, fanning a school-record 19 batters, which surpassed Prothro's own record that had stood for over a decade. That win marked the start of what would be another All-American season for Osorio in which she earned 23 wins with a 1.21 ERA and 334 strikeouts, including four games with 18 or more strikeouts. In the NCAA Tournament, Osorio allowed just two runs over 23.2 innings pitched with 29 strikeouts against top-ranked Minnesota and top-seeded Florida.
Prothro was named Alabama’s pitching coach on July 5, 2011, returning to Tuscaloosa after spending one season as the head coach at Samford. Prior to serving as Samford’s head coach, she spent the previous two years as the head coach at Birmingham Southern College. She posted a record of 57-14 in her two seasons with the Panthers, for an impressive .803 winning percentage.
In her first season as a head coach in 2009, Prothro led the Panthers to a 32-5 record. The team broke 13 program records, including the mark for wins in a season. Her first team posted a .364 team batting average and 1.19 ERA. Prothro’s 2010 team then finished with a record of 25-9 overall and 12-4 in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Prior to becoming head coach at Birmingham-Southern, Prothro spent the 2008 season as an assistant coach on the BSC staff. That season, the Panthers earned a 32-28 record for the first 30-win season in program history. She also helped coach four All-Big South Conference players and two CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees.
Prothro played professionally in National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) for the Philadelphia Force prior to being hired at Birmingham-Southern. She also served as a 2007 student assistant coach at her alma mater, with the Tide going 55-10 during that season.
During her stellar career at Alabama from 2003 to 2006, Prothro helped the Crimson Tide win its first Southeastern Conference regular season title in 2006 plus SEC Tournament championships in 2003 and 2005. She earned SEC Tournament MVP honors in 2005 and was named SEC Pitcher of the Year in 2006.
Prothro helped her team make NCAA Regional and Super Regional appearances during all four of her years at Alabama, as well as three NCAA College World Series appearances (2003, 2005, 2006).
A native of Chambersburg, Pa., Prothro was named a NFCA second team All-American in 2005 and 2006. She was named SEC Pitcher of the Year and was one of 10 finalists for the Collegiate Player of the Year as a senior in 2006. She also was named to the SEC Honor Roll and the Academic All-SEC Team all four of her years at Alabama.
Prothro’s other playing honors included 2003 Region VIII Tournament MVP, NFCA All-South Region in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and NFCA All-American in 2005 and 2006. She also earned all-conference honors each of her four years at Alabama and was named the 2003 SEC Freshman of the Year.
Prothro earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Alabama in 2007. She and her husband, Quintin Prothro, currently reside in Northport, Ala.