The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Despite difficulties, Chatham softball perseveres in 2014

Chatham University’s Women’s Softball team is facing a year of transition. In 2013 the Cougars posted a record of 8-28 and finished 10th in the President’s Athletic Conference. The Cougars also graduated seven seniors, and coach Kelsey Knapp left the program.

This year the Cougars are facing uncertainty. With only five returning players, fielding a team with game experience is going to be a challenge.

“Everyday is a struggle at practice. You can only go so far with your individual skills. It comes to a point where you need the rest of the team to work together,” said senior Jenn Stefano.

“We are trying to create a pitcher out of the five players we have. We don’t have a recruited pitcher either,” said senior Anne Marie Brnardic.

First Year Kate Lewis was recruited to pitch for Chatham this year but had to leave the school due to unrelated reasons. Lewis was surprised by how small the team was but despite the small numbers, felt support from the Chatham community.

“The girls on the team were very welcoming. We were like our own little family. However, there was poor communication and a lack of organization. The other coaches were great by helping us out before they hired a new coach, and the other athletes were very supportive by offering to join the team,” said Lewis.

To fill out the roster, the Cougars are going to need to find students willing to play. Other student athletes at the school have stepped up and volunteered to join the program.

Coach retention has been a major problem for the Chatham softball program. The seniors currently on the team have now had three coaches in four seasons. It is hard to recruit and build a team when the coaches are not staying long enough to help.

On November 1, 2013, William “Bill” Gilbert was hired to coach the softball team. Gilbert has experience coaching at the Division I and II levels, as well as experience coaching the National Junior team in Sweden.

A new coach brings new hope to the Chatham program. Gilbert has his eyes set on the 2015 season. Athletic Director Terlynn Olds said of Gilbert, “He has begun recruiting and he is attending tournaments.”

2014 is going to be a rebuilding year for the Cougars, but with a new coach, the future of the program looks optimistic.

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