Just last season, Jessica McFadden was a softball player at Barton College.
So to hear the word “coach” in front of her name still is a little weird.
She’ll be hearing it a lot. McFadden recently was hired to be the new softball coach at Faith Christian.
“It’s an honor,” she said. “I’m really excited to work with new girls and use my own knowledge of the game to create a more successful team.”
McFadden, who played for four years at Barton College, was an All-American last year.
She also was named the Conference Carolinas Player of the Year after leading the league in batting average (.484) and stolen bases (44).
McFadden holds the NCAA record of single-game stolen bases with eight against Shaw University last year.
She plans on bringing her aggressive style to the dugout for Faith Christian.
“Of course,” McFadden said with a laugh. “I was aware that (Faith Christian) didn’t steal very much. I’m definitely going to use that as a new learning experience for them.
“If the players themselves want to go on to the next level, they are going to have to master that or know the basics of how important stealing is.”
Before playing at Barton College, McFadden played for two travel programs which competed at the state and national level.
In 2005 and 2006, her team played at the ASA national tournament. In 2006, she helped her team capture the ASA National Championship. McFadden’s experience as a player is obvious, but it was her energy level that also caught the eye of Faith Christian athletics director Jimmy Hendricks.
“This is exactly what Faith Christian needs, some new energy and a new excitement in the program,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks said that McFadden came highly recommended from local coaches and that her resume and attitude were extremely impressive.
“She was excited, if I was to offer her a job, to not win championships right away, but build the program,” he said.
Part of building a program, Hendricks said, would be increasing interest at the school and adding a junior varsity team.
“Our softball program has been young for the past three or four years,” he said. “I’d just love to get an interest level back up.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org