Yannis Shafi
Mercury Staff

Athletic department hires program’s fourth new coach in past eight years on an interim basis

The athletic department has named a new interim softball head coach after the previous one departed UTD last November.

Athletic Director Bill Petitt announced the hiring of Corrie Hill to be the interim head coach in December. This is the fourth time the softball coaching job has changed hands since 2011. Hill has previously coached at top softball programs such as the University of Central Florida and the University of Texas. Hill grew up in the DFW Metroplex and attended the University of Texas at Arlington for the last two years of her collegiate career.

“It kind of brings your career full circle when you can come back to where you started,” Hill said. “It’s a very satisfying way for approaching the position and the experience that I’m getting to have now.”

This past fall, former coach Rich Wieligman left the softball team after two years to become the associate head coach for the University of Kansas. During his time at UTD, he led the team to a 61-30 record, with two ASC tournament appearances, one NCAA Division III tournament appearance and the program’s first ASC Championship.

Hill’s Division I experience has allowed her to incorporate specific drills and health techniques into practices. In addition to this, Hill takes an active approach in making sure the players are staying healthy, both on and off the field, senior outfielder Stefanie Polderman said.

“The biggest things are her expectations of what we can do and what we are expected to be able to do,” Polderman said. “She’s really focusing on specific things, like when you walk up to the plate, how you carry yourself and what kind of things you’re thinking.”

Hill emphasizes the importance of being mentally aware in practices and runs a variety of exercises and drills. When the team had to play six games over the course of five days, Hill taught a drill called “getting present,” which is a method players use to forget about the stresses going on in their lives and focus on softball. Samantha Halliburton, a senior catcher, said Hill is very structured and efficient in their practices.

“She’s definitely done a lot with us to help strengthen the mental aspect of our games, which we haven’t focused on as much in the past,” Halliburton said. “It’s definitely something that’s different.”

The Comets will play the heart of their ASC schedule starting March 29. Even though the team has a new head coach, Halliburton is one of the team members who said they believe Hill can help UTD achieve success in the postseason.

“Coach Hill is going to do nothing but help us to continue down the path that we started last year,” Halliburton said. “We’re ready to win the national championship, and I do think that coach Hill will help us do that.”