Though Libby Sugg came to play softball at BYU in 2016, she didn’t initially intend to rep Cougar blue at Miller Park when her recruitment began. Having grown up in Tennessee, Sugg considered staying to play in the South because she wasn’t sure BYU scouts would be able to see her play much. However, Sugg showed up on BYU’s radar when her mother, Denise, sent her to a camp in Provo.
After participating in the camp, Sugg and her parents came on an official visit to Provo. It was on this trip that Sugg began to seriously consider what it would be like to play softball on the Wasatch Front.
“I grew up in the Church, but I didn’t plan on going to BYU before I came to the campus,” she said. “I chose to play here because of the feeling I had about it. I came out to Provo and the campus was so beautiful — it doesn’t get better than those mountains — and the coaching staff was great. I knew this was the place and that I needed to experience being here.”
On the same trip, Sugg and her parents were able to meet the team at hitting practice. When she walked into the Indoor Practice Facility, all of her future teammates introduced themselves and made her feel welcome. She says the girls on the team are her favorite part about playing at BYU, and she considers them to be both the “best group of girls and the weirdest people you’ll ever meet.”
“Everybody loves Libby,” said catcher Emily Erickson, who was Sugg’s maid of honor at her wedding this summer. “She’s just a jokester. She’ll talk in a Southern accent and make up jokes for each of us on the team.”
On top of the perks of living right by the mountains and having fantastic teammates, Sugg also enjoys being from a different region of the United States. She’s only the second softball player from Tennessee to play for BYU.
“I like that not a lot of people at BYU are from the South,” she said. “Being from Tennessee sets me apart and makes me unique.”
Though Sugg pursued college softball, it was not her original sport of choice. As a 4-year-old girl, Sugg’s parents put her in baseball, and she continued to play until she was 14.
During her years playing America’s pastime, one of Sugg’s coaches encouraged Chuck and Denise Sugg to put their daughter in softball. Despite her passion for baseball, Sugg and her parents took the advice of the coach and began to learn more.
“We put her on a couple travel teams,” Chuck said. “Though she still loved baseball, she started to love softball, too.”
Throughout her years playing both sports, her parents relentlessly supported her. Denise would drive Sugg to softball practices two hours away, and Chuck assisted her on the field as a coach for many of her teams.
“My parents encouraged my siblings and me to play a variety of sports and to see which ones we liked best,” she said. “My dad was my assistant baseball coach, and when I began to play softball he started learning more about the sport along with me. We practiced every day and began to understand softball together.”
Sugg and her father developed a bond over the sport, and they also enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with each other regardless of the activity. She attributes her father’s constant encouragement, as well as his insistence of her hitting 200 reps off the tee each day as a kid, to her success in getting to where she is today.
“Libby, Denise and I were fortunate enough that we all loved sports, and so it was neat to see Libby cultivate this interest,” Chuck said. “I had the best seat in the house as her coach.”
Though her parents are 2,000 miles away and are only able to make it to a few games each year, they are pleased with her decision to play for the Cougars.
“She made the right choice,” Chuck said. “We knew she made the decision on her own and that it was what she wanted to do. Regardless of whether she chose to be a pianist or an artist or a softball player, we would have supported her.”
Playing at Miller Park
Sugg has received a number of honors while playing for the Cougars. She’s a three-time All-MWC selection and two-time All-Region honoree. At the end of her junior season, Sugg was named to the 2018 NFCA All-American Third Team, along with being named to the All-WCC First Team, WCC All-Academic Team and the NCAA Eugene All-Region team. Her career totals include 42 home runs, 181 RBIs, a .362 batting average and a .455 on-base percentage.
Along the way, the Cougars have won the conference championship and qualified for the NCAA Tournament all three seasons of Sugg’s career.
Among the many games Sugg has played at BYU, she distinctly remembers the excitement of winning against Utah her sophomore year.
“My favorite game ever played at BYU was the Deseret First Duel,” she said. “I hit two home runs, scoring four RBIs, and we won, 4-3. It was exciting because we beat Utah, and we also just played a good game.”
Erickson remembers that game well, too.
“After Libby hit that first home run, everything felt electric,” she said. “After she hit the second home run, there was no doubt in our minds that we had the game.”
Life off the field
Aside from playing softball, Sugg has two favorite things — her husband, Gareth, and Netflix. Sugg and Gareth met each other through a dating app and started dating soon after meeting. They tied the knot on June 8 of this year in the Provo City Center Temple.
When Gareth started attending Sugg’s softball games, he didn’t quite know the sport. However, Sugg says over time he learned it well, and she loves looking up in the stands to see her now husband watching and supporting her.
On Netflix, some of her favorite shows include "Parks and Rec", "Friends" and "Parenthood".1 comment on this story
“You don’t have a lot of free time while playing an intercollegiate sport,” she said. “So it’s nice to relax and watch shows when I have some time.”
Libby found a passion in softball that developed over many years of practice and through her continual effort to improve her skill. She advises young people to find joy in what they choose to do in life as well.
“Make sure you love what you’re doing,” she said. “You don’t want to do something you dread every day. When you find what you love, practice all the time. Go all in and give it your all.”