LACEY NICHOLSON; Sports Writer; firstname.lastname@example.org
Brandi Gordon Bennett will begin her twelfth season as a college softball coach and embarks on her first season as a head coach.
The Pacific Lutheran University softball team was forced to come together after their head coach, Lance Glasoe, made an abrupt decision to leave the program in August 2016. Glasoe’s choice to move his coaching career back to the University of Washington shocked his players just as much as it did the athletic department.
The athletic department focused their efforts towards hiring a new head coach for the softball program.
“We try so hard to have a good experience for our student-athletes and throwing something like that in was not anticipated,” said Associate Director of Athletics Jen Thomas.
Meanwhile, as the team was without a coaching staff, the players had to work through the challenge and stick together. They held each other accountable through offseason workouts and reassured one another that they were a team.
The players had to take on new roles in order to fill the lack of leadership in the program at the time.
“Our seniors made sure to check in with everyone, including incoming freshmen. If there was anything they needed, we are all willing to help” sophomore Katherine Hatlen said.
Things started looking up for the Lutes as the athletic department and Director of Athletics and Recreation Laurie Turner hired Brandi Gordon Bennett to be the new head coach of the softball team on Sept. 14. In recent years she has assisted at University of Washington, Seattle University and Harvard University.
“Given her experience at a Division One institution as well as an Ivy League school, where the focus is on students first and then athletes, is a good model and one that fits well with the PLU identity,” said Thomas.
Coach Gordon Bennett was excited to take on her new position as head coach; it’s an opportunity for her to implement what she has always wanted her program to look like: student first, athlete second.
Less than a week after moving into her new office at PLU, she took the field for the first time with her new team.
“Hitting the ground running was great for me. I got to come in and work with the team right away,” she said.
Gordon Bennett seems to have made a positive impact on the team during the short four weeks of fall practices. The players have responded well to the change and have high expectations for their upcoming season. As the team learns more about their new coach, she is also learning from them.
With nine seniors on the team this season, Gordon Bennett is not lacking internal leadership within the team. As a whole, the group has answered well to the abrupt transition.