By Josh Brown, Sports Editor
It is not every day that a person with a social work major and French minor goes on to be a college softball coach, but that is the case for Lady Bulldogs’ head coach Heather Hall.
Hall, a native of Prince Edward Island, Canada, played NCAA Division II softball for Gannon University and graduated in 2004. Today, Hall is serving in her fifth season at the helm of Union’s team.
However, Hall said she did not always aspire to be a coach; her passion for social work led her to pursue a career that involved helping victims of domestic violence before softball found its way back to her.
“Coaching wasn’t actually what I set out to do, but doors were always open in that area,” Hall said. “(Softball) kind of followed me wherever I went.”
Hall traveled to Italy to explore semi-pro ball opportunities there. She said she came back to the States thinking her softball days may have been over because she was cut from a semi-pro European softball team. She said she realized she did not like being that far from home.
Hall first spent two seasons as assistant softball coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
After the experience at Martin under head coach Donley Canary, she was recommended for the head coaching job of the Lady Bulldogs.
Hall said softball has always been a big part of her life and helped pay for college. She said she now has a job that combines two things she is passionate about: softball and working with younger people.
To say that Hall’s pitching career at Gannon was a successful one is an understatement. In her four-year stint, Hall set many pitching records, including career records of 857 strikeouts, a 1.06 ERA and 81 complete games.
An unheard of single-season record 0.51 ERA topped Hall’s many records she set while at Gannon.
“I definitely miss playing,” Hall said. “I put a lot of hard work into getting (to that level). But I still get to do what I love and enjoy coaching.”
Hall led her team as pitcher and a captain, and both roles helped prepare her to coach later in life, she said.
When she is not coaching, Hall said she spends time with her family. Other than traveling to away games, which sometimes keep her from her family, she said coaching is difficult in two ways.
“(The team) is like a family,” Hall said. “I genuinely care about all the women on the team. So when you have women come in as freshmen and see them graduate it is great to see, but it is hard and sad to see them go, too.
“The lack of control you have during the game is a big difference (as well), I was a pitcher and the one who controlled the game. Going from that position to a coaching position, you can prepare people for the position, but you cannot be the one out there (making the plays).”