COLUMBUS, Ohio – Taylor White and Lena Springer shared part of their softball journey together at Ohio State as teammates from 2015 through 2017. When they were finished playing, the game of softball wasn’t finished with them. Today, they are assistant coaches at Delaware State and Howard, respectively, two Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Both say they are finding fulfillment not just from continuing to be around the game of softball, but teaching and molding young women who are positioned to have an impact on the world far beyond sports.
For Springer, her journey in coaching almost never happened. Following graduation, she was set to enroll in law school. At the time, her future as an attorney seemed set. But something kept tugging at her. The realization she came to was that she loved the game of softball and wasn’t finished being around it. And who could blame her – Springer comes from a family of athletes. Her father played football at Connecticut while her mom was a gymnast, her sister played softball at Central Connecticut State and her brother is George Springer, the MVP of the 2017 World Series who just signed a six-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
A week before law school was set to begin, she withdrew to follow her passion. Fast forward to September of 2019 and Springer landed at Delaware State as the Hornets’ top assistant coach. She’s also worked with pitchers at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and as a private instructor in East Hartford, Conn. and Columbus.
“The sport of softball has in so many different ways blessed me with opportunities both on and off the field that I am forever grateful for,” said Springer. “Having the opportunity to give back to the sport that gave me so much constantly leaves me at a loss for words. However, having the opportunity to not just coach 25 young women on the field but the opportunity to have a lasting impact on them for the rest of their lives off the field is why I love doing what I do so much.”
And, Springer says, the experience of coaching at an HBCU is both unique and fulfilling.
“The energy and atmosphere is indescribable,” she said. “In a sport that is predominately white, the culture on our team is incredible. These young women enter every day with a goal to be the absolute best versions of themselves in everything that they do. I am very proud to be where I am.”
White, an all-conference outfielder during her time with the Buckeyes, graduated in 2018 and is entering her second season at Howard where she assists with the team’s offense, along with the catchers and outfield. Like Springer, the young women that’s she impacting each day are a constant source of inspiration.
“I am loving my journey being at Howard and even though some days are grinds, my team makes it worth it,” said White. “I am so grateful to have a chance to get to know and coach the amazing young women I am surrounded by, because I know each and every one of them is going to leave Howard and make a profound impact on the world. I love the grind and I love my HBCU.”
For Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly, seeing two of her former players succeeding as coaches is both inspiring and rewarding.
“I could not be more proud of Taylor and Lena and their decision to get into coaching,” said Kovach Schoenly. “Both have a passion for the game and will be that strong female role model for their players. The sky is the limit for them in the coaching profession.”