Aug. 29, 2008
Auburn, Ala. -
The Auburn softball program has added former Major League Baseball player Mark Ryal as an assistant coach to work with hitters and outfielders, announced head softball coach Tina Deese.
Ryal joins the Tigers' staff after spending the previous season as the head coach at Carl Albert State College in Poteau, Okla. Prior to that, Ryal served as head coach of the Inola (Okla.) High School softball program from 2003-2006.
"Mark brings a wealth of experience and poise to our program," Deese said. "He will be a good fit and really help solidify our offense. I believe his experience is something that will translate well to our student-athletes."
Ryal began his collegiate coaching career as the hitting coach for the University of Oklahoma in 1995, helping the Sooners to the College World Series. Oklahoma finished second in the Big Eight Conference in hitting in 1995.
As a player, Ryal broke into Major League Baseball in 1982 with the Kansas City Royals after beginning in the Royals' minor league system in 1978. Ryal also played for the Chicago White Sox (1985), California Angels (1986-87), Philadelphia Phillies (1989) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1990).
Ryal hit .375 as he helped the Angels to the American League Western Division title in 1986. The following year, Ryal led the American League in pinch-hits. His final year in MLB came in 1990 as he helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win the National League Eastern Division title.
Ryal also served one season as a scout for the Royals in 2005.
The Tigers finished the 2008 season with a 38-22 overall record and a 13-14 record in SEC play. Auburn advanced to the College Station Regional, marking the fourth postseason berth in the last five years.