Lancers react to new coach

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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New Longwood University Softball Head Coach Dr. Megan Brown will be taking over leadership of a roster that features many players who are veterans of the program and a few who were just getting to know the culture set by former Head Coach Kathy Riley that had led to a Big South Conference dynasty.

Destiny Martinez

All 18 student-athletes on the Lancers’ 2021 roster will now make the adjustment to Brown’s coaching style and the qualities she will offer. A few of those returning student-athletes took time to share their reactions to Brown’s hiring and their hopes for what she will bring to Longwood’s softball team.

“I knew we needed someone spectacular to continue the winning tradition of Longwood softball, and I was eager to figure out who would become the new leader of our program,” All-Big South infielder Destiny Martinez wrote in an email. “I was fortunate enough to be a part of the search committee, and when I found out Coach Brown was a candidate, I did my research.”

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Martinez, who will be a 2020-21 graduate student, stated she was excited to see Brown has a vast knowledge of the game and a tremendous amount of experience. She especially highlighted Brown’s stint at the University of California, Berkeley and her time overseas playing and coaching professionally.

“I also had the opportunity to ask her questions during the search process, and it was clear to me that she is passionate about the game and extremely competitive, something any successful team needs in a leader,” Martinez said.

She said if she were to choose one thing in particular she hopes Brown will bring to the Longwood softball program, it would be that Brown continue to uphold the Lancers’ championship mindset and gritty, blue-collar work ethic.

“The culture we built under the leadership of Coach Riley’s multi-decade career is what we are all about here at Longwood softball,” Martinez said. “It has allowed us to become so successful and fortunate enough to win five Big South Championships, as well as play in a couple of NCAA regional championships. I am excited to get back on campus with the team and work with Coach Brown towards another championship.”

Sydney Backstrom

All-Big South pitcher Sydney Backstrom is entering her senior year, and she said she is excited for Brown to be the Lancers’ coach this year.

“She has a lot of experience and seems to be real nice and have a positive attitude,” Backstrom wrote in an email. “I am hoping that she will bring a lot of her past knowledge to the team, as well as a positive attitude.”

Standout outfielder Nia Green, who will be a sophomore this year, said her first reaction to Brown’s hiring was nervousness.

“Bringing in a new coach is going to be different in multiple aspects,” she stated in an email. “As a team, we have to adjust to a lot of different things, which is a very huge part of day-to-day life.”

Nia Green

But she said her reaction has transitioned now to mainly excitement.

“We are a winning team, and knowing that we are gaining a coach who is all about winning and working to get better in every category is great,” Green said.

She added that she hopes Brown brings passion and encouragement to the program.

“There are some days that are tougher than others, and we may feel like slacking off, and having a coach that really has passion and encouragement will help us grow,” she said. “Hopefully, that passion and encouragement will bring us a sixth Big South Championship.”