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Univ. of North Carolina - Softball
Univ. of North Carolina - Softball mobile

Coaching Staff


Mary Jo Firnbach
Associate Head Coach

Mary Jo Firnbach joined the UNC softball program as associate head coach in August 2014, focusing on the development of the hitters and infielders.

In her first season at Carolina, the 2015 Tar Heels ranked fourth in the nation in home runs and 10th in slugging percentage, with shortstop Kristen Brown ranking in the top 10 in the NCAA in home runs and RBIs.

Firnbach continued to mentor Brown during her senior season in 2016, helping the Tar Heel slugger to break the all-time ACC career home run record, while earning NFCA First Team All-America honors and UNC's prestigious Patterson Medal.

Firnbach came to UNC after spending eight seasons as the associate head coach at Texas A&M. During her tenure in College Station, the Aggies made eight NCAA tournament appearances, including two trips to the Women's College World Series and four NCAA Super Regional appearances. In 2008, Texas A&M advanced to the 2008 national championship game.

Before Texas A&M, Firnbach served as head coach of the Syracuse University softball team for seven seasons, where she led the Orange to a school record for victories (36) and its third appearance in the Big East championship, earning Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2005. She has also held assistant coaching positions at Illinois State and the University of Michigan.

Firnbach graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1991 with a bachelor's degree in community health relations and later returned for her masters in sports psychology. She is a member of the Southern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame.

While at Southern Illinois, Firnbach was named team captain in 1991, a season in which the Salukis went 42-7 and were the Gateway Conference regular season and tournament champions. She was a two-time Gateway All-Conference first-team selection and an All-Midwest second-team selection.

On the professional level, Firnbach played the 1991 season for the Raybestos Brakettes in Stratford, Conn. The Brakettes won the national championship and the gold medal at the Olympic Sports Festival. She also played with the Michigan Cruise in Ann Arbor, Mich., finishing fifth at the national tournament in 1994.

Firnbach entered the coaching profession immediately following graduation, serving as a volunteer assistant coach for two seasons at her alma mater, while completing her master's degree. She served as an assistant coach at Michigan from 1993-95 where she helped lead the Wolverines to a Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament championships, the National Invitational Tournament title and to an appearance in the College World Series.

Firnbach then served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Illinois State for three years. The Redbirds won the Missouri Valley Conference title in 1996 and 1997 before Firnbach was named the head coach of the Orange in 1998.

Chelsey Barclay
Assistant Coach / Pitching

Chelsey Barclay joined the North Carolina softball progam as the Tar Heels' assistant coach in September 2015. Barclay will serve as UNC's pitching coach, while also working on baserunning.

In her first season with the Tar Heels in 2016, Barclay helped transform junior Kendra Lynch into an everyday starter. After two seasons seeing limited action in the circle, Lynch had a breakout junior campaign, earning All-ACC First Team and three ACC Pitcher of the Week honors, while setting four Carolina single-season records. Additionally, Barclay had a tremendous impact on the Tar Heels' baserunning, leading Carolina from just 29 stolen bases in 2015 to a program-record 102 in 2016, including the first-ever pair of Tar Heels to record 25+ steals in the same season (Destiny Deberry-33, Aquilla Mateen-26).

Barclay came to Carolina after two seasons as the pitching coach at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo where she developed some of the top pitchers in school history.

During her first season with the Mustangs, Cal Poly's 2014 rotation led the Big West Conference and ranked 27th among more than 300 NCAA Division I programs with a 2.13 ERA. The Mustang rotation also led the Big West in strikeouts (311 and 5.92 per game) and fewest home runs (23) and earned runs (113) allowed.

Under Barclay, Mustang righthander Sierra Hyland was named 2014 Big West Pitcher of the Year after finishing 13th nationally in strikeouts (263) and 15th in victories (26).

Barclay served as an assistant and pitching coach at Marshall from 2011-13. She capped her tenure in Huntington, West Virginia, by helping the Thundering Herd to a 36-22 overall mark, the program's first Conference USA championship and an appearance in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.

Marshall's 2013 pitching staff ranked 34th among NCAA Division I programs with a 2.25 ERA. During each of Barclay's final two seasons with Marshall, the Herd pitching staff finished among the top-three Conference USA programs in ERA, strikeouts and opposing batting average.

Prior to her time at Marshall, Barclay served as the graduate assistant pitching coach at Louisiana-Monroe for the 2010 season.

A native of San Jose, Calif., Barclay earned Horizon League All-Newcomer team praise during her 2004 freshman season at Illinois-Chicago, in addition to helping the Flames to the NCAA Tournament.

After transferring to West Valley College (Saratoga, Calif.), Barclay was named NorCal Pitcher of the Year after winning 22 times and compiling a 0.54 ERA. She continued her collegiate career at Oklahoma State (2006-07) before graduating with degree in elementary education.

Aquilla Mateen
Volunteer Assistant Coach

Following a successful career at North Carolina, Mateen will serve as the Tar Heels' volunteer assistant coach for the 2016-17 season.

2016 Honors:
» ACC All-Tournament Team
» bCLA Leader of Distinction

2014 Honors:
» All-ACC Second Team
» ACC All-Tournament Team

Career Notes: Appeared in 214 games, making a total of 186 starts • Ranked third all time at UNC with a .358 batting average, totaling 12 doubles, 11 triples (T-10th), 28 walks, 44 RBIs, 142 runs (7th) and a .398 on base percentage • Swiped the fifth-most bases in program history, going 70-for-81 (.864) • Ranked 25th in the nation among active players in career triples and 39th in stolen bases at the time of her graduation.

2016 (Senior): Appeared in all 57 games as a senior, making 55 starts in center field • Batted .295 with two doubles, four triples, 38 runs, nine walks, seven sacrifice bunts and eight RBIs • Helped the Tar Heels set a program record for stolen bases with a career-high 26 swipes, ranking fifth in the ACC and ninth all time at UNC • Tied for second in the ACC and 33rd in the nation with four triples • Ranked fifth in the ACC, including second during conference games, in sacrifice bunts • Tied for ninth with 18 runs scored during ACC play • Won the UNC Leadership Award and Coaches Award.

2015 (Junior): Lightning quick, terrorized opponents with her speed • Started all 53 games in center field • Finished third on the team in batting at .373 and second in hits with 63 • Led the team with seven stolen bases.

2014 (Sophomore): Continued to be a menace on the base paths, stealing 19 of 24 attempted bags • Started all 46 games played in the outfield • Batted .412 with 63 hits, leading the team in both categories • Tallied 16 RBI’s and 35 runs scored • Named to the All-ACC Second Team and the ACC All-Tournament Team.

2013 (Freshman): Showed incredible speed on the base path, stealing 18 of 21 attempted bags while batting .346 • Started 32 of 58 games played, primarily in the outfield • Recorded 36 hits and scored 30 runs. 

Prep: Lettered in softball, basketball, volleyball, and track and field • All-state selection in softball, basketball and track • Was awarded most outstanding player in the state game and player of the year as a senior • Selected all-conference in volleyball and basketball • Won a basketball state championship her senior year • Named school Female Athlete of the Year for three years.

Personal: Majoring in exercise and sport science • Serves as a CREED Mentor and participates in the Veteran Leaders program with the Richard A. Baddour Leadership Academy • Also goes by Kiwi • Born Feb. 23 in Greensboro, N.C. • Aquilla Shade Mateen is the daughter of Rahma Mateen-Mason and Trazon Mason.


Suzanne Tadlock
Camp Director

Suzanne Tadlock returns for her 10th year as the Camp Director for Donna J Papa Softball Camps. 

Tadlock was the Tar Heels Volunteer Assistant coach, from 2013-2016 after coaching high school softball at Leesville Road High School for 15 years.

In addition to her duties with the Tar Heels, she is a Family Life Educator in New Hanover County.

Tadlock is a graduate of UNC Greensboro (1990), where she played softball for the Spartans.