Univ. of North Carolina - Softball

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 program 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 a degree in elementary education.

Suzanne Tadlock
Camp Director

Suzanne Tadlock has served as Camp Director since 2009. She handles the behind the scenes duties for all camps and clinics. 

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.