Waunakee graduate Allie Taylor has been named the new head softball coach at Edgewood College. The 24-year-old signed a contract with the Division-III school just in time for fall competition.
Taylor said she’s excited to be at the helm of an NCAA program in her home state.
“I feel like it’s a good transition for me,” Taylor said. “I’m very acquainted with the Wisconsin softball community. I grew up outside of Madison, and played at one of two Division-I schools in the state. So I feel acquainted with the people and the competition level.”
Taylor spent last season coaching high-school softball for the Lodi Blue Devils, leading the team to more victories than it had recorded in either of the two years preceding her arrival.
However, she soon realized that she missed the level of competition found in college.
“I really learned that college-age girls are who I want to work with,” Taylor said. “I never saw myself being (at the high-school level) more than 10 years. That’s what gave me the inclination that it wasn’t where I was meant to be.”
So the rookie head coach left Lodi after a promising first season, in order to pursue her dream of running a college program. At the time, she had no idea where she would end up coaching.
“I sent my application all across the country to see what was available and what I could get,” Taylor said. “But I was late to the game, so I didn’t get a call from the assistant athletic director until July. That’s when my interview process started.”
Taylor was one of an estimated 60 applicants for the head-coaching job at Edgewood.
Fortunately for her, Taylor’s resume had something that most others lacked. Taylor was a stand-out athlete in college, setting an all-time record for career home runs (18) at UW-Green Bay.
Also, she had a year’s worth of experience as an assistant coach at Madison College.
“I really grew a passion for coaching and working with college-aged students there,” Taylor said. “I loved being able to develop young women’s mental toughness, their confidence and positivity. I think those qualities and characteristics are things that they’ll need for the rest of their life.”
Edgewood’s athletic director, Al Brisack said Taylor’s focus on player development was something that helped set her apart from other candidates who applied for the position.
“We searched nationally to find the right person,” Brisack said. “When you look at the resumes, a lot of them look similar…But when you finally get them on the phone or on campus, you can hear whether that passion is real or if they’re just throwing it on paper to get a foot in the door.”
With Taylor, he said, the college could tell that her love for coaching was real.
“The biggest thing that stood out was her passion for wanting to teach the game of softball,” Brisack said. “She wanted to teach. She wanted to be here. She wanted to instill our values into her players. That was the thing that kept coming from the hiring committee in its reviews.”
Brisack and his staff ultimately agreed that Taylor was the best fit to be Edgewood’s next head softball coach. They offered her a one-year contract just before the start of fall training.
Taylor began working with players shortly after arriving to the campus in August.
The new head coach said she is optimistic about her team’s chances for the upcoming season, and that the outcome will likely depend on the amount of work her players do in the fall.
“I think that the sky is the limit,” Taylor said. “It depends how much they work outside of the season. I think October to December – and how much work they put in during the offseason – will determine how we do in the spring.”
The team’s first game has been scheduled for March 1, at the Rochester Dome Tournament.