Under the helm of head coach Gordon Eakin, the BYU softball team has won five Mountain West Conference titles, four of the past six championships and finished second twice. Overall, in eight years at BYU, Eakin has led the Cougars to a 231-142 record. The Cougars have won more than 40 games for six straight seasons. This past season the Cougars finished 46-13 and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time in school history.
What does this past season's success mean to the BYU softball program?
Eakin: "It validates that we've been doing things the right way and shows our fans, players, coaches and the university that we're on the right track to competing at the highest level. Now that we've been at a Super Regional, we want to win at a Super Regional and advance from there. That's our drive and our push, and I think it will happen in the very near future."
What has reaching the Super Regionals for the first time done for recruiting?
Eakin: "It's been huge. We are just getting inundated now with letters from prospects who want us to consider them. Our program is one that now plays at the top level, and that will help us attract the top-level players."
What did you learn from having a player like Angeline Quiocho (the MWC all-time home run leader) on your team the past four seasons?
Eakin: "I'll place more emphasis now on having players who have that kind of athleticism. It's something that's just irreplaceable. Players either need to have power or speed, or be good skill position players. I've learned not to get too excited about the first thing I see in a player, but to make sure all the intangibles are there as well."
How is the talent pool of softball players in Utah progressing?
Eakin: "I think it's come a long way. Right now I think the top 10 percent of softball players in Utah can compete at any Division I program in the country. That used to be 1 or 2 percent. Next year we have four local players who we think will come in and make a significant contribution to our program right off the bat. We've never had that many before. The young softball players in Utah just have a lot of love and desire to play the game."
What's the most gratifying part of being a college softball coach?
Eakin: "I like to build. I love to go out and recruit and bring kids into the program and work with them and ultimately see the results of that in a final product on the field. That journey and building process, and then being able to sit back and watch that progress and end result, is what I enjoy most and is the most satisfying part of all of this."