One of the best players to ever don a UTSA uniform, Michelle Cheatham (McElyea) just finished her seventh season as an assistant softball coach. She works with catchers, outfielders and assists with hitting.
In Cheatham's first seven seasons on the staff, 23 Roadrunners have combined to earn 31 All-Southland Conference honors, including back-to-back Freshman of the Year laurels (Molly Fichtner 2011/Megan Low 2012), and three NFCA All-South Region accolades.
Last season, Cheatham guided catcher Megan Low to first-team all-conference and Southland Freshman of the Year accolades. The Spring native led the team with a .375 batting average, .533 slugging percentage, five homers and 28 RBIs and committed just four errors, which translated to a .987 fielding percentage.
Cheatham helped the Roadrunners post a 37-14 record and reach the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history in her first season in 2006. UTSA won its third consecutive Southland Regular Season Championship with a 22-5 mark and the Roadrunners swept through the Southland Tournament undefeated for the second time in three years.
UTSA also continued its power-hitting prowess with the help of Cheatham during her first season with the club, as it slugged 105 home runs in 51 games, a then-NCAA-record 2.06 per-game average. The pitching staff also was solid, as it turned in a team earned run average of 2.37. Behind the plate, catchers Jessica Els and Catherine Garza committed just four errors in 366 chances for .989 fielding percentage.
Her impact was felt again in 2007, as UTSA launched 74 home runs, while Garza once again was outstanding behind the plate with just two miscues in 214 chances (.991 fielding percentage).
In 2008, UTSA posted a 20-10 Southland record and tied for third in the league standings. The three-person catching rotation of Whitney Balch, Brittany Bell and Cassie Miller combined to commit just one error in 259 chances, which computed to a .996 fielding percentage.
In her fourth year on the staff, the Roadrunners again finished third in the conference with an 18-11 mark, the fourth consecutive season with at least 18 victories and a top-three finish in league play.
In 2010, Cheatham helped Caitlyn Ivy earn first-team All-Southland honors at shortstop. Ivy hit .383, slugged a league-high 12 home runs and led the squad with 118 assists en route to being named second-team NFCA All-Region.
Cheatam was instrumental in the development of Molly Fichtner behind the plate in 2011. Under her tutelage, Fichtner was named Southland Freshman of the Year after leading the team in batting average (.350), hits (55), doubles (11), homers (11), RBIs (34), total bases (101), slugging percentage (.643) and walks (37). She also recorded a .981 fielding percentage and threw out 42 percent of attempted base stealers.
Cheatham was a four-year letterwinner from 1999-2002 and she earned second-team All-Southland honors in 2000 and 2002 at catcher. She still ranks in the top 10 on eight of UTSA's single-season lists, including the school record for putouts with 455 in 2002.
The Clear Lake native also appears on 10 of the school's career charts, including sixth with 37 home runs. She finished her stellar career with a .306 batting average, 127 runs, 208 hits, 35 doubles, 37 home runs, 52 extra-base hits, 126 runs batted in, 692 at-bats, 85 walks, 1,172 putouts and 247 assists.
She and her husband, Brian, have twin sons, Austin and Brayden.