By JOSEPH HAMRICK
Less than two months after Texas A&M University-Commerce Athletic Director Ryan Ivey announced the addition of a softball program, Ivey introduced Richie Bruister as the inagural head softball coach.
A&M-Commerce President Dr. Dan Jones said, coupled with the hires this year of Ivey and head football coach Colby Carthel, “the sun continues to rise on this day in Lion Athletics.”
Bruister comes to A&M-Commerce from Texas Woman’s University (TWU), where he had a record of 183-97, four appearances in the Lone Star Conference Championship and three trips to the NCAA tournament in his five years coaching the Pioneers.
Ivey said with this hire, the softball program is off to a running start.
“We take the first step in being a leader in North Texas intercollegiate softball,” he said.
Last year, Bruister’s team had its best season in history with 51 wins and was in the Academic Top 10 Teams with a combined GPA of 3.510.
Bruister said he wants to continue that tradition at A&M-Commerce.
“The only way to be successful is hard work,” he said. “We’re going to hit the ground running. We’re going to do all the things that it takes to be champions the first year.”
Bruister said it didn’t take long for him and his family to realize they had made the right decision to come to the university.
“This university sold itself,” he said. “When I left here I thought ‘Oh boy, I’m going to be in a great situation here.’”
Bruister has a history of turning teams around. Before he took over the coaching position at TWU, he coached at Henderson State University (HSU) in Arkadelphia, Ark., from 2004-08. Before he arrived in Arkansas, HSU had a 46-143 record in five seasons.
In his first year, he led the HSU Lady Reddies to a 34-13 record.
According to Ivey, Bruister’s track record shows he is a good fit to lead the first A&M-Commerce softball team to victory sooner rather than later.
“There is no doubt we have found [the right] coach,” he said.
Bruister can begin recruiting softball student-athletes this fall.
Although the Lion’s inaugural season is spring 2015, the team will be able to have organized workouts and play in tournaments in the fall of 2014.
According to Bruister, his style of fast-paced running and power-hitting is exciting for both players and fans.
“I look forward to bringing those exciting times to Commerce,” he said. “Come and enjoy the games.”