BRISTOL, Tenn. – King University director of athletics, David Hicks announced the hire of Kyleigh Payne as head softball coach on Wednesday, following the resignation of Jake Cockerham.

Payne joined the Tornado staff prior to the 2021-22 season and helped the Tornado’s to a historic season. The Tornado’s became the first Conference Carolinas team to win the regular season and tournament titles since 2015. That gave King their third NCAA Southeast Regional title in program history, as the Tornado set the school record with a 15-game winning streak leading into the regional.

Prior to King, Payne spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Lincoln Memorial University. During those two years, Payne helped the Railsplitters to a record of 54-13, winning the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) regular season title and finishing as Southeast Regional runner-up in 2021.