South Carolina softball's Ashley Chastain hires four Charlotte coaches to finalize staff

COLUMBIA — Less than a week after being hired as South Carolina softball coach, Ashley Chastain has assembled her staff.

On Monday, the school announced four hires for the coaching staff, all of whom previously worked with Chastain at Charlotte.

Katie Rietkovich Browder will be the associate head coach and Jody Davidson and C.J. Leighton were hired as assistant coaches. Sidney Kane will assume the role of director of operations.

"I am thrilled to hire a staff of amazing coaches and people,” Chastain said in a school release. "I have a ton of belief in their ability to recruit the best players nationally and give those players a second to none connection and player development plan during their career as a Gamecock."

Here is what to know about Chastain's staff.

Katie Rietkovich Browder, associate head coach

Browder has spent the last 10 years in college coaching. She has coached at other schools throughout the SEC and played college softball in the SEC as well.

  • Ole Miss (2016-18, 2021-23)

  • Minnesota (2019-20)

  • Savannah State (2015)

  • She played at Georgia from 2010-11, when the Bulldogs finished third at the 2010 Women’s College World Series.

Browder’s father and sister also have Gamecocks connections. Her dad, Ty Rietkovich, played tight end South Carolina (1980-83) and worked on the football staff (1984-86.) Her sister Caroline (Rietkovich) Coleman was a cheerleader and is currently on coach Shane Beamer’s staff as the coordinator of football operations.

Jody Davidson, assistant coach

Davidson spent five years at Charlotte, three as an assistant and two years as a volunteer assistant coach. Prior, he was at Ole Miss and with the Rebels for two super regionals (2017 and 2019) and their 2017 SEC Tournament championship.

  • Director of softball operations, Ole Miss (2016-19)

  • Manager, Ole Miss (2014-15)

C.J. Leighton, assistant coach

Leighton spent the last two seasons at Charlotte, spending the 2024 season as the assistant pitching coach and the 2023 season as a volunteer assistant.

  • Team manager (undergraduate), Kentucky, four years

  • Graduate assistant, Kentucky, one year

In his time at Kentucky, the Wildcats made four NCAA tournaments and three super regionals.

CHASTAIN IN CHARGE: South Carolina softball hires former pitcher Ashley Chastain as coach from Charlotte

Sidney Kane, director of softball operations

Kane spent one season at Charlotte as its director of softball operations. She previously was at Florida State as a director of softball operations intern.

Lulu Kesin covers South Carolina athletics for The Greenville News and the USA TODAY Network. Email her at and follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @Lulukesin

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: South Carolina softball coach Ashley Chastain hires four from Charlotte