(Posted October 8, 2001)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - John Houck has been named the head softball coach at Juniata College, according to Director of Athletics Larry Bock. He will be responsible for all aspects of the softball program on College Hill and he replaces Kathy Ziga, who resigned from her post to pursue a master's degree at Penn State.

Houck, who is in his third year as an assistant coach with the Juniata women's tennis team, was an assistant under Ziga for the 2001 season.

"We feel very fortunate to be able to hire an individual such as John (Houck)," said Bock. "He has proven to be an energetic and hard worker and I am looking forward to watching him excel in his new position. John is going to help us take our softball program at Juniata to the next level and we are looking forward to climbing the ladder of success in the conference and in the region."

Houck's softball experience extends from playing to coaching. He was tabbed as a member of the U. S. Army All-Europe softball team while in the service and is currently an ASA softball member. In addition, Houck has coached in the Southern Huntingdon fast-pitch league.

Houck, who is currently a correction officer at the State Correctional Institution of Huntingdon, is a native of Huntingdon, Pa. He graduated from Huntingdon High School in 1988 and later attended the United States Military Intelligence School as well as the University of Maryland.

From 1988 through 1992, Houck was involved in military intelligence. From that post he moved into his current position with the correctional institution in Huntingdon. He became an assistant coach with the women's tennis team at Juniata in 1999 and also worked as a health and conditioning coach on College Hill in 2000 and 2001.

This past spring in Houck's first year with the program, Juniata significantly improved from its 2-20 overall record of 2000 to 12-15-1. The Eagles went 4-10 in Commonwealth Conference play with six of the setbacks coming by two or less runs. Juniata ended the 2001 slate just one win shy of tying the program record for victories in a season (13 - established by the 1986 and 1987 teams).

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.