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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 Ã’YESÃ“ 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?
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.