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Fastpitch Coach: Q&A

Lori Littleton Cooling, Head Softball Coach, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota (NCAA Division III)

Number of years in this position: Five

Overall won-lost record at present position: 124-78

Previous Softball Head or assistant softball coaching positions: Graduate assistant coach, Northwest Missouri State University, 1993-94.

Other accomplishments: Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, 1995-96; Midwest Region Coach of the Year, 1996; MIAC Champions, 1995-96.

Undergraduate Alma Mater and year graduated: Northwest Missouri State University (1993).

Postgraduate degrees held: Master's in education, Northwest Missouri State University, 1994.

Softball playing career highlights: All-Conference (1989-90), All-Region (1990), North Iowa Area Community College; All-Conference, 1991-92; Northwest Missouri State University; assisted with NCAA ÒYESÓ Clinics at Division I and Division II nationals, 1991, 1992 and 1993.

Q: When did you know you wanted to coach fastpitch softball and how did you get started?

LLC: After I graduated from high school, I was asked to come back as an assistant coach for my high school team.

Q: Who are some of the coaches and non-coaches you learned the most from and what did you learn?

LLC: Joe Campbell (North Iowa), Gayla Steenbergen (Northwest Missouri). I learned organization and discipline. I've picked up various game and practice information from coaching clinics.

Q: What would you change, if anything, about the recruiting process?

LLC: Allow Division III schools to provide financial support to athletes.

Q: When recruiting, what's the first thing you look for in a player? What's the second thing?

LLC: Grade-point average, softball ability.

Q: What makes for a successful season?

LLC: Strong pitching and team cohesiveness.

Q: What was your greatest moment as a coach?

LLC: Winning conference and taking our team to regionals.

Q: What was your worst moment as a coach?

LLC: Much of the 1999 season.

Q: What is funniest/strangest/most memorable experience you and your team have had on the road?

LLC: Our vehicle broke down in a bad part of Minneapolis.

Q: What's your take on the bat and ball issue? Are the balls or bats at fault, or both, or neither? Is there a problem? If so, what would you like to see done?

LLC: Bats, for sure, maybe the balls some. We are making all these great changes, but our corners play so close...

Q: What do you love most about coaching?

LLC: The game itself.

Q: What do you love least about coaching?

LLC: Cutting athletes, bad attitudes.

Q: Please complete this sentence: My coaching career has been successful if the majority of my players_____________.

LLC: Are having fun.

Q: Who was the best player you've ever coached against?

LLC: Kelly Schade, pitcher from Simpson College. An unbelievable pitcher.

Q: Which is the best team you've ever coached against?

LLC: Simpson College, 1998. A great team.

Q: If you could go anywhere in the world for a week, all expenses paid, where would you go?

LLC: Hawai'i.

Q: What advice would you give to young people who want to coach softball?

LLC: Learn to have patience, be flexible and know the game inside and out. It's a great job!

Q: If you weren't coaching softball, what would you be doing?

LLC: Coaching another sport, or something with the military.

Q: What is your favorite movie?

LLC: A League Of Their Own, Silence Of The Lambs.

Q: What is your favorite television show?

LLC: ER and Seinfeld.

Q: What is your favorite song?

LLC: From This Moment.

Q: What is your favorite food?

LLC: A good steak.

Q: Your favorite book?

LLC: Anything motivational. Chicken Soup books.