The Hawks women’s softball coach has never played softball or coached it, but the team feels he holds great practices that prepare them for games and build great team unity.
“I have played a lot of cricket, rugby and soccer because those are the big sports where I am from in Cape Town,” said Hawks coach Dallyn McLean, a sophomore studying exercise physiology. “I did play baseball when I was nine years old, but really, that was t-ball.”
McLean said even though he has not coached softball specifically, he still thinks he can be a great help.
“My girlfriend loves softball, and it was kind of a dying sport here,” McLean said. “So, to help her play the sport she loves, I decided to recruit some girls to play, and I also decided to volunteer as the coach. I’m very glad I could help.”
McLean said his previous coaching experience and general sports knowledge will help him with softball.
“I coached rugby for five years and cricket for two seasons,” McLean said. “The teams I coached all improved dramatically. My rugby team went from one of the lowest spots in their league to playing in the state tournament.”
McLean said he believes his experience coaching and playing other sports will help his team out in a way that other teams will not receive. He also said he is very grateful for the girls that are playing because they are patient with him and help him know what he is doing.
“I like to keep the practices dynamic, quick, and we all learn and teach on the go,” McLean said. “Some of the basics are the same as cricket and other sports, so I can give insights that might help, insights that they maybe haven’t heard before.”
Sierra Shepherd, a freshman majoring in general studies, said she has been playing softball for over 10 years and likes McLean as a coach.
“I respect him a lot even though he doesn’t have as much softball knowledge,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd said McLean points out the similarities between softball and cricket. She said he bats like he is playing cricket.
“Even though he has never played, he puts time and effort into learning how to coach,” said team member Kiersten Park, a junior studying elementary education. “Other coaches tend to be prideful, say they know what they are doing and kind of act like our boss. Dallyn takes suggestions and is our friend, and that’s pretty cool.”
McLean said he loves taking suggestions from the girls because they really know what they are doing. He said he spends hours watching softball games, drills and coaching strategies on YouTube so he is well-educated and ready for practices and games.
Park said the other girls on the team are helpful and make the environment fun to play in.
“We have a super great team,” Park said. “We are all so close. We had a get together before our first game where we made dinner, made bows for our hair, and we all just clicked as friends.”
Park said she and her teammates really enjoy one of the unique warm-up drills that Dallyn uses at the beginning of practice. She calls it ultimate t-ball, but really, McLean just made it up and it doesn’t have a name.
“The drill doesn’t have a lot of softball technicalities, but it really gets us together,” said teammate Ashlyn Davis, a sophomore studying psychology.
Davis said she really admires McLean for volunteering to coach even though he hasn’t had much experience.
“He is one of the coaches that just really enjoys it,” Davis said. “Other coaches can take it way too seriously, but when you are able to have fun it makes everyone love playing.”