By Kat Riddler, Editor-In-Chief
On September 7, the University of Missouri- St. Louis Athletics Department announced Amanda Scott will be the head softball coach.
Scott has loved softball since a very young age. “I started pitching when I was nine. I always knew I wanted to play college softball and wanted to attend a school that would compete for a National Championship.”
Scott replaces former Head Coach Brian Levin, who was hired as head coach for Bellmont. She heard about the position right away and loved the St. Louis location. “When I visited campus I felt very comfortable right away and the people were awesome! The success of the program speaks for itself, but I also heard numerous people speak to the character and hard work of the current student-athletes and I was motivated by that as well,” Scott said.
Scott has an impressive background in softball. She was a decorated National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 student-athlete, former U.S. National Team member, and a former coach from colleges across the country. Scott worked previously at Roosevelt University where she constructed the softball program from scratch in 2013.
“Creating the program at Roosevelt from scratch was the experience and challenge of a lifetime. It’s not often that you get to be a part of something brand new, from day one, in any field…it’s pretty special,” Scott said. “ It has been the most rewarding professional experience I’ve had yet. I’m so proud of what we built there, and of the student-athletes who took a leap of faith to be a part of that process.”
Before Roosevelt, Scott spent 2009-2011 as an assistant coach under U.S. Olympian Michelle Venturella at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While there, Scott helped the Flames program win the 2011 Horizon League tournament title and making the program’s first NCAA Division I Regional Championship since 2004. The Flames also were awarded the 2009 Horizon League regular season title during Scott’s residency.
Scott had never thought about coaching before her assistantship at Michigan and decided to try it. Her coaching experience started at Michigan State University as an assistant coach then became an assistant coach for the professional softball team New York/New Jersey Juggernaut for a season. She headed back to coaching on the collegiate level in 2005 as a pitching coach at the University of Iowa.
Coaching was very different for the accomplished softball player. “Coaching is like learning the game over and over again. You’re constantly challenged to make adjustments not only to the game itself, but each individual on the team,” Scott said. “When you are playing you’re just going out there and competing in a way that’s a little more individualized than when coaching and entire group of humans. We work to bring out the best in each athlete and work to bring out the best in the team as a whole.”
Scott’s softball accomplishments are nothing less than impressive. She is known as one of the best pitchers ever to stand in the circle at the collegiate level. She was a four-time All-American at Fresno State University and helped guide the Bulldogs to the 1998 College World Series title. She was named the MVP of the tournament and was later named to the NCAA’s 25th Anniversary Team for her collegiate achievements. She was also a three-time WAC Pitcher of the Year.
In 2001, Scott was a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award, recognizing the top eight student-athletes in all sports and divisions under the NCAA umbrella. Scott also excelled in the classroom where she was named a GTE Academic All-American and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.
During her collegiate career, Scott also earned a spot on the U.S. National Team from 1997-2000. She won gold at the 1998 World Championships and was an alternate on the gold medal winning 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. Scott worked as a color commentator for the Big Ten Network’s softball coverage in 2007.
Scott explained her experience training for national teams and the Olympic team. “To be totally honest, I think there is way more training involved with the collegiate level than the national level. When I was competing for both, we really only trained for the national team in the summers between school years,” Scott said. “I have been very fortunate to get to experience the things I have through this game. Anytime you get to represent your country playing the sport you love, you’re pretty lucky.”
The softball team started practicing the first day of the fall semester. They currently have practice daily and work out about five days a week for conditioning. While their games are mostly in spring, Scott hopes to have the team train in small groups for the rest of the semester to prepare for spring. “We are enjoying working with this team every day, not only as athletes, but as humans. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish in the next couple months before starting season in February,” Scott said. “This is a great group of workers, who genuinely care about each other and the experience. That’s an important piece to have.”