Gulf Coast Softball coach talks about moving players on, and moving players in this off season.
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -The Gulf Coast softball program is, like many college athletic programs, in a bit of limbo these days. That doesn't mean
Commodores head coach Scott Thomas isn’t focusing a lot of his energy on the program this summer.
I caught up with the coach at the Gulf Coast softball park Tuesday morning and we talked about a variety of subjects pertinent to him and other coaches.
Back in March, coach Thomas, in his first year leading the Commodores had them at 20-8, riding a ten game win streak. Then came the virus, and the lockdown, ending spring sports on all levels. So no doubt a tough way for the season to end. I asked him if that made this perhaps the most difficult off season he’s faced in nearly a quarter of a century in college ball?
“It’s been an odd off-season. I don’t know about difficult.” the coach told me. “Sometimes when you come off a tough year or you know whatever, there’s always something going on it seems like. Sometimes it’s really good. This has just been an odd odd, and tough is a pretty good word. But man, did not have the kids around we shut it down, we thought we were gonna have a two week break and we would be right back at it. So it’s like what can we do now to make up for it? So it’s really been odd.”
So odd, and certainly tough given the way it ended. Though by one metric, the season was a success, as coach Thomas helped the four sophomores, who wanted to play at the next level, find four year spots!
“Britney Crowson is going to Newberry.” Thomas said. “Taylor Robinson and Cam Michallas are both going to Marshall University. And we just found out that Belle Wolfenden, she’s kind of solidifying her deal with South Alabama. So for us to be able to put that many kids in this type of environment with all the four-year teams dealing with bringing kids back too, it has been really a blessing for our kids and we’re really happy for those kids moving forward.”
And as for filling out his own roster, for the 2021 season, in whatever form that may take, well that same environment at the four year level, where senior players are getting an extra year of eligibility, that perhaps helped Thomas and other juco coaches.
"Those kids were the ones that were kind of like what's going on now?" Thomas told me. "And we were able to offer to them and say we know we're going to bring you in and you can play here instead of sitting on a team with five years worth of players five years worth of players. Because they're backed up a little bit. Who's going to sit on the bench, do you know hi I looked at some of these rosters, the four-year schools are like 35 kids. Well there's only nine or 10 playing at a time, so how do we keep all these people happy we don't have to do that here. We've been able to bring them in and they know that they are going to have an opportunity to play right away without any question just because of our numbers."
Thomas says he’s filled all 12 full scholarship slots, and the 7 partial slots, giving him 19 players signed. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to get the word to bring those student-athletes to campus and to be able to get them on the field together. No word on when that might happen.
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