Former ASU softball coach Clint Myers shocked just about everyone when he left ASU for Auburn in the offseason, including his players.
Rumors began surfacing online before Myers actually took the job at Auburn. The players, including junior catcher Amber Freeman, didn’t think they were substantial.
“I kept getting calls from my friends from other schools saying that my coach was leaving and did you know that your coach is leaving and I was like ‘what are you guys talking about, he’s not leaving, I just saw him and just had my exit meeting, there’s no way he’s leaving,’ and a few days later I get the call that he’s leaving,” Freeman said. “It kind of caught all of us off-guard because we had our exit meetings and he’s like, ‘alright see you guys in the fall.’ I thought he would end his career here but it is what it is.”
Escobedo said she heard that Myers was taking a visit to Auburn, but said she thought it was just to get a better contract at ASU.
When Myers was introduced as Auburn’s coach in a teleconference, he said having two coaches from his family as assistants on his staff was the reason for the move.
Myers advanced ASU to seven Women’s College World Series appearances in eight seasons, which included two national championships.
Tuesday marked the first official practice for ASU under new coach Craig Nicholson, who came to ASU after a stint from Ball State.
The players seem to be responding well to the new leadership and direction, despite their initial shock. Senior pitcher Dallas Escobedo said she looks forward to the transition.
“He’s very different than I’ve had in my coaches in the past,” Escobedo said. “He’s very straight-forward, very fast-paced. Him and (assistant coach) Boo Gillete are out here hitting balls left and right, no stop, no breaks. It’s exciting because everyone’s on the move, everyone’s working hard. There’s no lounge time like we used to have. He brings in new positive vibes and I think we’ve been missing that for the past couple years.”
“He has more energy (than Myers),” Freeman said. “We’re getting a whole new feel with this new staff. I think it’s going to be really good for us.”
Nicholson said the players should have a fairly smooth transition. He also said that there are some personality differences and there is a transition phase to learn terminology and getting on the same page.
The new job is also an adjustment for Nicholson. He said the main difference was the talent levels between the schools.
“Obviously I got to get to know them (the ASU players), they got to get to know me, and so there’s definitely that, and not just me, it’s the rest of the coaching staff except for (associate head coach) Chuck (D’Arcy),” Nicholson said. “There’s definitely that phase of trying getting to know each other.”
Additional practice notes
-Nicholson said freshman infielder Chelsea Gonzales was limited in practice with an injury.
-Nicholson also said ASU didn’t pick up any players from their walk-on tryout they held last month.
“There was a couple decent players but we just felt like they weren’t quite up to the level (we needed),” he said.
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