2021 will mark the Coach Viland's 1st season at the helm of the Pope Fastpitch program after serving as an assistant coach for four seasons, from 2017-2020, along with a part time role in the 2016 season. Coach Viland is an alumni of the Pope Fastpitch program, playing under the direction of legendary coach, Coach Turco, then returning to serve as an assistant coach for Coach Turco. During Coach Viland's tenure, she assisted the Greyhounds to a top level of competition, finishing each of her 4 full-time seasons in Columbus. Coach Viland assisted the program to three straight state championship game appearances in 2018-2020, winning the AAAAAA State Championship in 2019 and finishing as state runners up in 2018 and 2020. Coach Viland has also been involved in 4 region championship victories from 2017-2020.
Coach Viland is a 4-time Georgia Athletic Coach's Association Region Assistant Coach of the Year and earned the Georgia Dugout Club AAAAAA State Assistant Coach of the Year in 2019. As an assistant coach, Ellie developed and directed the off-season "CIRCA Cup" program, leading the strength and conditioning workouts while enhancing the program culture.
Outside of coaching, Ellie remains a competitive athlete in her post Greyhound softball career as a CrossFit athlete, competing in state and national level competitions. Coach Viland graduated from the University of Georgia and has taught at Pope since 2018, first in the special education department and currently in the math department.
Mike Nelson will be coaching his 10th Pope fastpitch season in 2021. Mike graduated from Lassiter High School in 1998 and was part of 2 state runner-up baseball teams in 1995 and 1997 while playing for Hall of Fame coaching legend, Mickey McMurtry.
Coach Nelson proved instrumental in his first season on staff, assisting Pope Fastpitch's run to the state championship with his outside the box motivational techniques. Mike's signature moment occurred in early September when he coined the rally cry of "The snowball is rolling" to signify the momentum our team was gaining with each victory we had. During those months of September and October, Pope went 22-1 leading us to the program's first ever trip to Columbus and first state championship game appearance.
Mike's Pope Fastpitch career has known nothing but dominance as the program has qualified for the state playoffs each year of his career finishing in Columbus 9 of the 10 years, and competing in the state championship game 5 of the 10 years he has coached. He has also coached the hounds to 5 region championship victories in the past 10 years. Coach Nelson was awarded the high honor of Assistant Coach of the Year by the Georgia Dugout Club for his efforts with the 2014 state championship team.
Mike earned a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia State University and was a 4-year letterman for the Panthers, spending three of the four years as the Panthers starting 2nd baseman. In 2000, Mike's stellar play earned him a spot on the All-conference tournament team.
After capping off his collegiate playing career, Coach Nelson began his successful baseball coaching career with the Georgia State University baseball staff. Coach Nelson spent 2 years at Georgia State helping the team to back-to-back conference tournament appearances for the first time in school history. Mike also assists the Pope Baseball program. Mike has assisted the program to state championship victories in 2013 and 2017 and two additional state championship appearances in 2016 and 2019. Since Mike began coaching at Pope High School in 2012, he has been a part of 9 state championships between the fastpitch and baseball programs, winning four state championships.
Mike resides in Woodstock with his wife Carla and daughter Avery.
Natalie Lampert is a 2011 graduate of Pope High School who returned to her alma mater in 2015 for her inaugural year with Pope Fastpitch. 2021 will mark Coach Lampert's 7th year as a coach in the program. Natalie was a member of the 2010 Pope softball team that secured the program's first ever playoff victory against Creekview High School in the 2010 playoffs. The 2010 team set the school record for wins (at that time) with 19. For her efforts in her senior season of 2010, Natalie was named to the All-State softball team as an outfielder joining fellow Pope coach Jennifer Miller as the only two players at the time to achieve the prestigious award. Natalie's 2010 team was instrumental in the creation and implementation of Pope Fastpitch's tradition of creating a team "Mission Statement" and Natalie was part of Pope Fastpitch's inaugural class of "Mission Protectors".
Lampert was instrumental in leading the JV team to a record breaking 13-win season in 2018 which bested her inaugural record-breaking season in 2017 of 12 wins. Prior to serving as the JV head coach, Natalie assisted the JV Hounds to back to back 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2016. Lampert was very helpful in assisting the varsity team to the playoffs in the past 7 seasons, reaching the Elite Eight in Columbus for 6 of the 7 seasons, reaching three state championship game in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and securing the AAAAAA State Championship victory in 2019. The 2020 season continued a streak of 11 straight state playoff appearances started by Lampert's senior class at Pope back in 2010.
Upon graduation from Pope High School, Natalie continued her playing career for coach Jamie Grodecki at Georgia College and State University (GCSU) in Milledgeville, Georgia. At GCSU, Natalie was part of the winningest team in school history as the 2013 team posted a then school record 37 wins. Natalie brings a wealth of experience to the Greyhounds after having played in 85 college games and playing an important role in the GCSU outfield where Natalie made only 1 career error during her college tenure. In two of her college seasons, 2012 and 2014, Natalie posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in the outfield). Natalie was also a force on the bases for GCSU, posting a career 83% success rate in stolen bases while scoring 43 career runs.
In 2015 Natalie earned a bachelor's degree in special education and she is currently part of the special education department at Mt. Bethel Elementary School.
Jennifer Schrader is a 2007 graduate of Pope High School who returns to her alma mater for her 11th season with Pope Fastpitch in 2021. Coach Schrader (formerly Miller) began her role in 2011 and serves primarily as a varsity assistant with the Pope staff specifically filling the role of being the program's pitching coach.
In her first three years with the program, Coach Schrader was head JV coach and a picture of consistency, winning a team record 9 JV games 3 years in a row from 2011 – 2013. She then broke the team record for wins in 2014, posting Pope's 1st ever double-digit win season with 10 victories. Coach Schrader has built the foundation for a winning attitude amongst Greyhound players at the sub varsity level.
The Pope pitching staff has absolutely flourished under Coach Schrader's direction, seeing the single season records for pitching wins broken three times (15,19, and 29) and the virtual rewriting of the pitching record books with each season.
Jennifer has been instrumental in helping the varsity Hounds qualify for the state finals in Columbus 9 of the past 11 years (2012 – 2014; 2016-2020) and she is extremely influential in assisting the team and especially the pitching staff in reaching five state championship game appearances (2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2020) and winning two AAAAAA State Championships (2014, 2019). For her efforts with the 2014 team, Jennifer was recognized by the Georgia Dugout Club as a 2014 assistant coach of the year. This honor is the highest honor that an assistant coach in the state of Georgia can receive. Also, for her efforts with the Pope pitching staff in 2014, Jennifer was named to the GACA North All-Star coaching staff as the North All Star pitching coach.
In the past 11 seasons Coach Schrader has been on staff, the Pope pitching staff has had 7 GACA all-state team nods with Kelly Barnhill (2012, 2013, 2014), Hallie Adams (2017, 2018, 2019), and Kendall Frost (2020). Coach Schrader was also extremely influential in helping maintain the balance in the Pope pitching staff during the Greyhounds back-to-back region titles in 2017 and 2018. See the MDJ article about Pope's pitching staff here: https://www.mdjonline.com/sports/pope-wields-pitching-double-threat-with-adams-pizzuti/article_d9a203c4-c066-11e8-8d3c-7baa1cb3b37c.html
Jennifer's record setting prep career is visible in the Pope record books as she is listed in many categories cementing her place as one of Pope Fastpitch's best pitchers ever. Schrader tossed two no hitters while at Pope, the second coming against Kell High School in the region tournament to power the Greyhounds to their first state tournament appearance ever. Jennifer posted an ERA less than 1.00 for the season as she put up an impressive 0.75 ERA her senior year, pitching a stretch of 31 1/3 consecutive innings without surrendering a run. Jennifer's accomplishments during her senior year ultimately led her to becoming the first Pope player ever named to the All-State team garnering 2nd team honors for her efforts in 2006.
Upon graduation from Pope, Jennifer accepted a softball scholarship to play for Melissa Mullins at Augusta State University in Augusta, Georgia. As a Jaguar, Jennifer had 37 appearances in the circle tossing 7 complete games (2 of which were shutouts) and racking up 12 wins and 2 saves while holding hitters to a paltry .221 average against. In 2009, Jennifer's Augusta state team qualified for the NCAA tournament for only the 2nd time at that point in Augusta State history eventually falling to # 1 ranked North Georgia College in the regional championship game.
Jennifer brings a wealth of experience to the Greyhound coaching staff, previously serving as a pitching and hitting coach at Champions Fastpitch Academy. Coach Schrader teaches 4th grade at Eastside Elementary school in the Cobb County School District and resides in Brookhaven with her husband Nick.
Coach Liedberg will begin his fourth year on board the Greyhound coaching staff this season. Coach Liedberg's energy and enthusiasm is a large contribution to the Hounds success. In his first year with the program, Coach Liedberg largely assisted the JV team, helping the JV Hounds set a new school record for wins as the team posted a program best 13 wins in 18 games.
Coach Liedberg has contributed greatly in his role as assistant coach the past three seasons, helping the Hounds reach the state championship game in each of his three years as coach, ultimately finishing as state runner-up in 2018 and 2020 and as AAAAAA State Champions in 2019.
Coach Liedberg is also a member of the Pope baseball staff where he began coaching in the 2018 season. During these 4 years, the baseball program achieved great success as the Greyhounds reached the state championship in 2018 and 2019, winning the AAAAAA State Championship in 2019, and reaching the final four in the 2021 season (the 2020 spring season was cancelled due to COVID-19). Since Liedberg joined the Pope Baseball and Softball programs in 2018, he has played for 5 state championships, ultimately winning one for both baseball (2018) and softball (2019).
Coach Liedberg is a 2009 graduate of Pope High School where he was a key member of the 2009 Pope Baseball state championship team that finished ranked 10th in the country. As a fire-balling pitcher, Coach Liedberg continued his pitching career at Gardner Webb University in Shelby North Carolina.
After completing his playing career, Coach Liedberg worked multiple jobs in the baseball field, working as operations manager for 6-4-3 baseball and serving a short stint as an intern with the Atlanta Braves. It was with the Braves that Coach Liedberg realized his true calling was the education field, and Coach Liedberg went back to school to earn his education degree so he could become a teacher.
Coach Liedberg began teaching at Pope during the 2018-2019 school year and is a part of the social studies department after previously working within the Transition Academy.