Softball’s Brown wins 300 and counting

During her playing days, Erin Brown transferred from Culver-Stockton College to Truman State University in 1999. Nineteen years later, head softball coach Erin Brown has led her team to win 300 games at Truman.

The accomplishment came from the first of two games against Lincoln University where the ’Dogs swept the Blue Tigers. The coach closest to Brown’s record is Tarry Parrish’s 154 wins from 1983-1989.

Brown said she had no idea that she had hit, or was that close, to 300 wins. She said she owes gratitude to her assistant coach Ali Brems, players and Cooper Weidenthaler, coordinator of media relations, for planning the celebration of the win. Brown was given a poster which had many photographs of her with past players, reminding her of all the memories they made together.

Brown said although it is very nice to be recognized, the credit should go to all of the assistant coaches and players she has worked with in her time at Truman.

“It’s their hard work and drive to be great that earned so many wins,” Brown said.

Looking back, Brown acknowledged she struggled her first three seasons and made a lot of coaching mistakes. The Bulldogs had a 50-84 record in those years, but looking back on that struggle, Brown said she gained a lot of experience to carry with her in her career.

In Brown’s last three seasons, the Bulldogs are 103-59 with her second 40-win season coming last year after a 6-8 start. They qualified for the NCAA tournament in all three seasons after their appearance in 2014.

“[Coaching is] really so close to parenting where if you don’t care about making them better or don’t care that they improve, then they just wouldn’t say anything about it,” Brown said. “If you want them to be better, then you need to tell them so they can get better and make the adjustment.”

Brown has also learned recruiting a player who fits the team culture is as important as looking for someone to fill a statistical need. She said the four-year commitment between a coach and a recruit is like marriage in that both sides need to feel comfortable with each other for multiple years.    

Brown said she has so many wonderful memories of different teams and players, but the conference tournament last year is one of her favorites. She said it was nice to see everyone come together and witness some players having their best moments.

Senior infielder Jamie Fowle said the women were very excited to be a part of Truman history after completing the final out of game one against Lincoln for the 300th win for their coach.

“We had a huge picture ready and would take it on the road with us by hiding it on the back of the bus,” Fowle said. “I think it was cool how it worked out that she got the 300th win at home.”

Fowle said one of her favorite memories in her years with Brown was when both the coaches showed up late for practice, and they pulled up in vans honking at the girls and took them to a pumpkin patch where they participated in a corn maze competition. She said she has made special memories playing under Brown’s guidance these last four seasons and will cherish them forever.

Junior pitcher Lauren Dale said Brown is an extremely passionate coach who has put a lot of time and effort into making the program what it is, and it has shown. Dale’s favorite memory of her years here is the conference tournament last year when the Bulldogs competed in the GLVC Championship game.

“She believes in all of us so much that playing for her in big games makes you want to succeed even more,” Dale said.

Brown said they are very close to showing how good they can be but can’t seem to pull all the pieces together. Brown said the ’Dogs need to continue to work on defense when the opportunity is there, along with hitting more extra base hits. The ’Dogs currently sit at 13-9 overall and 4-4 in conference play so far this season.