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Status of the SEC Appeals to Smith

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sec.jpgSouth Carolina has hired Beverly Smith to take over as the head softball coach. When learning of the hiring, Michigan State head coach Jacquie Joseph commented, "South Carolina hit a home run with the hiring of Beverly Smith. It's that simple. Beverly is one of the finest our sport has. The SEC just got that much tougher."

There's no doubt the caliber of the Southeastern Conference played a major role in Coach Smith's decision to take the job.

"I'm looking forward to competing in the SEC," remarked Smith. "The league has established itself as one of the best in the country, and the top teams have proven they will compete for national titles every year. In that environment, every SEC game will feel like an NCAA Tournament matchup."

Here's how great the SEC has become in softball since the league began sponsoring the sport in 1997.

- Ten of the 11 softball-sponsoring schools have made NCAA Tournament appearances, with all 10 making at least once appearance since 2007.

- Six programs have advanced to the Women's College World Series, including the Gamecocks in 1997. In the last two seasons, the SEC has seen three teams make the WCWS each year.

- The league has grabbed nine of the national seeds overall in 2009 and 2010, including five last year. The top overall seed has come from the SEC each year since 2008.

- Nine teams have made top 25 poll appearances since the start of the SEC, while six have made top 10 showings in history.

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