By Carter Hunt, Staff Writer
Just four seasons ago, head coach Kyle Jamieson was named to turn around what had been a dry spell for the Furman softball team. After winning the SoCon in 2007, the Paladins had slipped in the conference and went from champions to struggling to be competitive. Jamieson has since changed the culture of the team, and in doing so, became the fastest coach to 100 wins in the team’s history.
He will be the first to tell you that this is not just his celebration but a shared one. Perhaps that is why he has led the team to its 100th win so quickly; there are no ‘I’s in his team, only ‘we’s. “We knew going into the season that we were close and would hopefully hit the milestone in the first month,” Jamieson said in an email.
The night before the game assistant coach Courtney Breault sent an email to the entire team saying, “Let’s go get KJ his 100th win tomorrow!”
The milestone win came against Buffalo on March 12, when the Paladins cruised to a 9-5 victory over the Bulls. Sophomore Candace Johnson and senior Taylor Collins each were able to send a long ball in the game as icing on the cake. Collins was a freshman on the team, along with current seniors Sieara Bishop and Alex Sappington, when Jamieson became coach.
This group of three is a special part of Jamieson’s career; they were there for his first win as a head coach. “They are the first group I have spent four years with, so it was nice to share this milestone with them,” said Jamieson. However, more than just 100 wins, Jamieson wants to send this group out on top. “I am way more interested in sending this group out with a SoCon championship and a ring,” he stated.
Despite the milestone, the team did not have any real time to pause and celebrate. The win was the first part of a doubleheader, and the Paladins, at 13-13 on the season, are working hard to get a nice seed for the SoCon tournament.
“We are all more interested in what the feeling of a SoCon championship would feel like,” Jamieson said. “In a six-team league where you play each team in a three game series, you just can’t have a bad weekend.”
The entire team is oriented to get back at a conference championship, and Jamieson is trying to create a culture where a championship is the expectation. “The players know what we want everyday, as far as how we work, how we act, how we train and what we expect,” Jamieson said.
Most recently, the team put together a three-game sweep of Gardner-Webb as it prepares to dig into conference play. During Easter weekend, the team will play Chattanooga in a three-game series overtwo days to kick off the conference schedule. As for Jamieson’s milestone, “it really isn’t about me,” he said, “You’re only as good as the people around you.”