By JOSEPH HAMRICK
Coming soon, Texas A&M University-Commerce will no longer be the only school in the Lone Star Conference to not have a softball program.
A&M-Commerce President Dan Jones made the announcement during a press conference held inside the Alumni Center on Monday.
“I am thrilled about the addition of this program,” he said, mentioning that A&M-Commerce is one of the oldest universities in Texas and the only charter member left of the original LSC. “As long as we’ve been here, we’ve never had a womens softball program.”
During his first speech as athletic director for A&M-Commerce earlier in the year, Ryan Ivey said after hiring a new head football coach, he would like to see a softball program sooner or later for the school.
Ivey said he was glad to see it sooner.
“I am very excited to announce the beginning of this program,” Ivey said, adding that the Cane Foundation and Paul Peak were instrumental for laying the foundation for the program.
Ivey said the next phase for the program is to host a nationwide search for a head coach in time to recruit players for the summer.
The program will hold practices during the 2013-14 season but will not be able to compete until the fall of 2014 and its first season will begin spring 2015.
Ivey said whoever is chosen as coach will use the same philosophy of recruiting as A&M-Commerce Head Football Coach Colby Carthel; recruit local talent.
“We will focus on recruiting in Northeast Texas,” Ivey said, “and make sure we’re recruiting in that 150 mile-wide radius.”
The Commerce Lady Tiger softball team has seen a lot of success in recent years, making it as far as the regional semifinals this year. Ivey said the success of the high school had a hand in quickening the process.
“It helps, absolutely,” he said. “It builds support in the community.”
There’s still a long time until opening day for the A&M-Commerce softball team, but Ivey said the future is bright for the sport.
“There’s a lot to look forward to with softball,” he said.