In Year Two, the Fire went 36-17, including a 9-2 win over eventual national champion Auburn-Montgomery, along with #7 Belhaven, and #14 USCB. The season was also highlighted by Welsh recording her 400th career victory on March 3rd in a 2-1 win over Bluefield College.
Welsh came to Southeastern after serving as the head coach at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, for eight years.
During her time at the helm of the Pilots, Welsh compiled a record of 330–95–1, with six Mid-Central Conference regular season titles and five consecutive trips to the NAIA National Tournament. During her time at Bethel, she coached 11 NAIA All-Americans, 37 MCC All-Conference winners, four MCC Players of the Year, five MCC Pitchers of the Year, and the NAIA all-time home run leader, Katie Boocher, who blasted 58 career round-trippers.
Originally from Bradley, Illinois, Welsh graduated in 2001 from Olivet Nazarene University with a degree in speech communication. She excelled at Olivet as a two-sport athlete, playing both softball and basketball. While at Olivet, she earned numerous awards as a shortstop and a catcher. Those awards include NAIA National Player of the Week, All-Conference, All-Region, NCCAA All-American, and NAIA All-American Honorable Mention. She was also a member of the 2000 NCCAA National Championship softball team.
At just 22 years old, she landed her first head coaching job at Saint Mary’s College (NCAA D-III) in Notre Dame, Indiana, becoming one of the youngest head coaches in the NCAA. In her second season at Saint Mary’s, she led the Belles to their first conference tournament championship in program history while also producing the 2004 MIAA Offensive Player of the Year, MIAA Defensive Player of the Year, and the MIAA batting champion. Welsh and her coaching staff were also named the 2004 MIAA Coaching Staff of the Year.
Welsh was named the head coach at Bethel in 2004 and helped rebuild the program into a national contender almost immediately. In 2005, Bethel went 33–21 and earned a trip to the NAIA Regional Tournament. The following season, Bethel won the MCC Conference title with a 14–2 record and ended their season with a 37–23 overall mark.
In 2007, the Pilots made their first-ever trip to the NAIA National Championship while tying the school mark for wins with a 45–10 record. From 2008–2009, she once again led the Pilots to the NAIA National Tournament, finishing with records of 51–6 and 52–7, respectively.
In 2010, Welsh once again took her program to new heights, leading the Pilots to a No. 3 ranking nationally, which is the highest ranking in program history. That season, the Pilots made their fourth consecutive trip to the NAIA National Championship, advancing to the final eight for the first time in school history.
Her best recruiting and coaching season to date was likely 2011, when the Pilots advanced to the NAIA National Championship for the fifth consecutive season, despite key losses at nearly every position. Despite what appeared to be a rebuilding season, the Pilots went 38–8 overall, won their respective conference championship, and returned to the NAIA National Championship for the fifth straight year.
The year 2012 proved to be a period of ups and downs as the Pilots entered the season ranked No. 12 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll. After a slow and injury-filled start, the Pilots rebounded to reel off a perfect 18–0 conference record to win their sixth title under Welsh. Despite the perfect conference regular season, the Pilots failed to win the conference tournament and were shut out of making their sixth trip to the NAIA National Tournament.
During the Pilots’ run to becoming a national power, Welsh placed Bethel in the NAIA Top 25, 38 out of the 39 national polls, dating back to their first appearance on April 18, 2007.
Welsh has also held high standards in the classroom for her teams. During her time at Bethel , 17 of her players were named NAIA Scholar-Athletes. In 2009, the Pilots were awarded the Girls Got Game NAIA All-Academic Award, an award given to the No. 1 overall team GPA in the NAIA. The Pilots registered a 3.54 GPA for the 2008–2009 academic school year.
Welsh’s first team at Southeastern continued the tradition of academic excellence as they registered a 3.59 GPA for the 2012–2013 academic year. The mark was the third-best GPA among all NAIA softball programs.
Also during her tenure at Bethel, she served the Pilots as an assistant athletic director, a responsibility that has carried over to Southeastern.
Welsh and her husband, Jeff, have two children, Izabelle and Elijah.