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Aug. 31, 2005

What about Ohio State made you most attracted to the university when you decided to leave Akron?
Not only does Ohio State have a national and world reputation, but it’s certainly the flagship university in our state. This is the Buckeye state, and I wanted to be a Buckeye.

You beat Akron in both games of a double header this year. What has it been like playing against your old team during your years at Ohio State?
I don’t think there’s any sentimental feelings any more. Those players have sinse been gone, and the administration has changed. One of our former great players, Katie Chain, is the pitching coach there. So if anything, it’s fun to go up against her. I think it’s important for us to take those non-conference games, particularly against teams from the state of Ohio that have more motivation, pretty seriously. We certainly have a lot of respect for those programs.

What one person had the biggest impact on the coaching style that you have today? Why?
Probably either my high school coach, Glenn Hughes, who was always really excited about the sport and coaching young women, or Pat Guerrioro, who was my coach in college for two years. He was a former baseball player and he probably taught me the most about strategy and thinking beyond the next play.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment as a coach?
Seeing these girls now in the real world, and how softball paved a way to get their education, and how they’re applying so many of the qualities that they learned.

Other than softball, what is your favorite sport to watch?
Football.

How do you see the landscape of softball changing with television like CSTV and ESPNU now covering more games?
It has become way more competitive in recruiting, and I think a lot of that is because of exposure. You see the level of play getting better across the country. A school in our conference won the national championship. You start to realize how far we’ve come. I think the Olympics were a big part of that. The College World Series continues to get huge ratings. They continually outdraw the NHL. I think that certainly has helped improve the landscape. What is the biggest surprise you encountered when you arrived at Ohio State?
There are so many other things that take your time away from actually coaching. Also the competitiveness of the Big Ten and the conference’s constant struggle to legitimize ourselves nationally.

Do you feel that pushing the start of the season back and having a uniform starting date would help teams from the north get on more of a level playing field?
It would make things fair, plain and simple. It just makes no sense to me that baseball and softball are virtually the only sports that don’t have one and we’re the ones most affected by weather. We’re not trying to gain an advantage. We’re trying to lessen a disadvantage.

When you first started your coaching career, did you ever dream that you would win over 500 games so fast?
No. I’ve never really been one for the numbers. I take more pride in a class graduating with the most wins in school history. Those are the things that mean the most to me.

Half of your roster is from west of the Mississippi River. How have you been able to build your program with student-athletes from across the country?
Our goal each year is to recruit first and foremost the best players from Ohio that we feel can develop to play at a Big Ten and national level. Like most programs in the country, we find it necessary to go out of state and recruit from other parts of the country as well. In our sport it’s well known that the west coast plays a very high brand of softball and there are so many teams out there, and only so many schools. So many of those players are looking for opportunities to go to another state.