COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Head Softball Coach Ehren Earleywine has been relieved of his coaching duties, Mizzou Director of Athletics Jim Sterk announced Friday.

 “I met with Coach Earleywine this morning and informed him of our decision to make a change in leadership within the softball program effective immediately,” Sterk said. “We do not take action of this magnitude without careful thought and consideration, however, we have lost confidence in Coach Earleywine’s leadership to foster the type of healthy environment we expect for our student-athletes, and as a result, believe it is in the program’s best interest to make a change at this time.

 “Since my arrival at Mizzou, I have had a chance to consider concerns within the softball program that arose before my time and observe Coach Earleywine’s leadership of our program,” he added. “This decision was based upon a culmination of leadership concerns, not just one incident, which caused me to reevaluate his position within our softball program at this time.”

In 11 seasons as the Tigers head coach from 2007-17, Earleywine compiled a record of 482-182 (.726), while guiding the program to 11-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with eight NCAA Super Regionals and three Women’s College World Series trips.

“While we are appreciative of the many successes Coach Earleywine’s teams have enjoyed on the field during his Mizzou tenure, we had serious concerns about the culture within the softball program and the experience our student-athletes were being provided as a result,” Sterk said. “I recognize that the timing is less than ideal, but I did not believe I could hold off in making a decision to ensure that our student-athletes experience a constructive environment that is consistent with the department’s expectations and values.”

Earleywine will be paid based upon the terms of his contract, which expires June 30, 2018, and an interim successor for the 2018 season is expected to be appointed early next week.

Missouri opens the 2018 season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., against San Jose State, Feb. 8.