Jan. 15, 2008
The Cara Clark era is about to begin in earnest for the Dayton Flyers.
After six years at Clarke College and five consecutive 20-plus win seasons, Clark begins her first season as the Flyers head coach.
She begins with the same high hopes and expectations that all head coaches bring to a new job, but that optimism seems to have spread through the entire organization.
A few thoughts from the new head coach as spring training begins on the 2008 season.
What were you doing before Dayton? Talk a little about your coaching background. For the past six years I held the position of head softball coach and mental health counselor at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa. In addition, I served as the Senior Women's Administrator for the past few years.
Softball has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My experiences as a player were incredible and I was fortunate to have several coaches that helped to shape my life in positive ways. At the conclusion of my playing career, I knew I wanted to stay involved with the sport of softball and coaching was a natural transition. My desire has always been to give back to the game and help nurture the development of the players I coach. I feel fortunate that some of the players and teams that I've led have broken records and have won championships along the way.
What is your coaching philosophy? My approach to the game is to develop precise fundamental play including defense, baserunning, and offensive execution. We have a very disciplined and hard-working style of preparation. A critical component of success that is too often overlooked is the mental aspects of the game. We seek to establish a balance between the physical and mental skills needed to handle the demands of our sport. In addition, it is important to keep the game in perspective and understand that ultimately the relationships that are generated through our sport are the most valuable rewards one could ask for.
What are you most looking forward to heading into the season? It is very exciting to be a part of the University of Dayton softball program. There have been some significant milestones that have been reached by past Flyer softball teams. I look forward to continuing to build upon those accomplishments while seeking new heights. Our membership in the highly competitive Atlantic 10 Conference sets us apart from area colleges and universities. I am confident that this program will continue to make substantial strides toward championship caliber results.
What is your philosophy on recruiting? What do you look for in a potential studentathlete? One of the main factors that we consider in the initial stages of the recruiting process is specifically about "fit". We look for athletes that fit with the high academic standards of our institution. Our players must be able to successfully balance academic, social, and athletic environments of our campus. It is critical that our incoming players have the talent to compete and succeed at the conference and national level.
Finally, we look for individuals comfortable with leadership roles and demonstrated ability to handle pressure.
What goals have you set for the Flyer softball program? What do you expect to achieve in the next year? This year's team will approach the season with several objectives in mind. First, we look to be competitive in the Atlantic 10 and qualify for the conference tournament. Adding to the strength of our schedule will be an ongoing strategy to continuing to establish a strong regional and national softball reputation. Finally, a berth into the NCAA tournament is expected to be in our immediate future.