Nearly 30 people came to hear ASU softball coach Craig Nicholson and ASU associate head basketball coach Amanda Levens speak at the Tempe History Museum about women’s sports Thursday.
Each month, the Tempe History Museum hosts a lecture series that explores the role of sports. The first of the eight lectures focused on ASU women’s sports.
Levens said she knew she wanted to coach basketball since she was a freshman or sophomore in college.
“I loved teaching the game,” she said. “You can really make a difference.”
Dan Miller, the museum’s exhibit coordinator, said Nicholson was chosen to speak at the event because ASU’s softball team is one of the most recent ASU women’s teams to win a championship.
The team won the 2011 Women’s College World Series.
Nicholson said that when he was a little boy, he imagined his future would involve football.
“Being a softball coach was far from my thoughts,” he said.
He said one of the main reasons he changed from coaching boys to coaching girls was because of how serious girls were about their academics.
“When you coach women, they understand,” Nicholson said.
Nicholson and Levens agreed that the players realize they will not make it professionally and need to focus on their degrees. The two emphasized the importance of relationships with the players.
“You build relationships, you have success,” Nicholson said.
However, Levens said relationships mean more than success.
“It’s about the relationships,” she said. “Not winning or losing.”
Levens said the basketball team will be much better this year.
Nicholson said he cannot promise anything about how the softball team will be in competitions, though he feels hopeful about the future.
“I love what I’ve seen so far,” he said.
The lecture series will go from present, to the past and then to the future, Miller said. Three of the lectures, including ASU women’s sports, incorporate ASU.
“We like collaborating with ASU,” he said.
The other ASU lectures will be in October and January. October’s event will focus on ASU’s sport history and January’s will be on the Sun Devil Stadium plans.
Another familiar face from ASU made an appearance at Thursday night’s event.
The crowd saw Sparky enter the room and screamed, “Go Sparky” as Nicholson approached the podium to speak.
“I know Sparky was the one getting the applause,” Nicholson said.
Miller said coaches’ availability has a lot to do to with who ends up speaking at the event.
“We are after who has good presentation skills,” he said. “Levens said she was really excited about doing it.”
Miller said they liked the idea of having Levens speak at the event, because she is not just a coach. She also used to play basketball for ASU.
Nicholson and Levens related sports to what players face in real life.
“It’s OK to face challenges,” Nicholson said. “That is the only way to overcome them.”
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