The Dixie State University softball team’s winning streak may be important, but the players said there is nothing more important than the kindness and compassion of head coach Randy Simkins.
Simkins has led the Storm to a 27-8 record and continues on a four-game winning streak. Simkins has been coaching at Dixie for six years. He recently led the 2013 team to 40 wins and 20 losses, which is the most wins for Dixie softball since becoming a Division II team.
“We are lucky to have him as a coach,” said leftfielder Bailee Freeland, a junior accounting major from Ogden. “He is always bringing intensity to practice and games. He prepares us well for each and every game.”
Simkins has coached the team to achieve 234 runs so far this season; the women also have a .359 batting average.
But the women said what is more prominent than his coaching is his whistle.
“One thing coach is known for is his whistle,” said outfielder Courtney Sherwin, a junior business major from Mesa, Ariz. “No matter where we are or what we are doing, to get our attention, he has this distinctive whistle.”
Sherwin said Simkins is very motivational.
“He is all about quotes,” Sherwin said. “Every day he posts an inspirational quote that not only can be [applicable] to softball, but to life as well.”
Freeland said Simkins is always pointing out the women’s strengths and helps them use those qualities to be successful.
“Coach Simkins is the most genuine, caring coach I have played for,” Sherwin said. “He obviously wants us to succeed to our full potential on the field, but more importantly, he wants us to be the best [people] we can be.”
Pitcher Michelle Duncan, a junior business major from Gilbert, Ariz., said Simkins keeps the players’ morals high and always has an open door for the women to come in and talk whenever they need. She said he is always willing to listen to the women’s concerns, as well as any new ideas that may help the team.
“He is very respected by the players and coaching staff,” Duncan said. “He is compassionate and competitive about the game.”
But along with being competitive about the game, Simkins also allows the women time to have fun during the warm, daily practices. Freeland said sometimes he allows the women to do a throwback Thursday. The women are able to wear their old uniforms from their past teams during those days.
Freeland said Simkins likes to keep the game simple and fun. He also focuses on coaching fundamentals like recruiting.
“Coach is [also] great at recruiting,” Freeland said. “He understands team unity and how important that is. He always brings in the best girls to have a successful program.”
You can catch Simkins and the rest of the softball team at their next home series April 14-15 against Brigham Young University-Hawaii at Karl Brooks Field.