Coaches named conference’s best

Home to the American Southwest Conference’s (ASC) second place baseball and softball teams, UTD now boasts the East division’s top coaches in each sport.

Baseball skipper Shane Shewmake and softball coach Tricia Hoffmann were selected as Coaches of the Year by their conference colleagues on May 6.

Shewmake and Hoffmann join men’s Head Basketball Coach Terry Butterfield – who won Coach of the Year honors earlier this year- as UTD’s divisionally-recognized coaches.

Under Shewmake, the baseball team compiled a 33-8 record and peaked at No. 11 in the American Baseball Coaches Association national Division III poll. The Comets advanced to the ASC championship game for the second consecutive season before falling to McMurry.

Shewmake attributes his individual honor to his team’s hard work and success on the field.

“Well part of it is that we ended with a 33-8 record and that helps. It’s a tribute to the guys who got the most out of their abilities,” Shewmake said. “It means we have a good bunch of kids who worked their tails’ off. I don’t take any credit.”

His players aren’t surprised that their coach got the conference recognition they say he deserved.

“His leadership ability and coaching style made sure we were physically and mentally prepared,” senior third baseman Mike Biguenet said. “He’s by far the best coach I ever had.”

Senior right-handed pitcher Tony Adler said the difference between a great coach and a mediocre coach is very little.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly. It’s some intangible, subtle things. [Shewmake] made it fun, and the atmosphere was such that everyone wanted to play everyday,” Adler said.

Hoffmann’s Lady Comets finished the season at 23-15. Hoffmann engineered a key win over East Texas Baptist – the nation’s top Division III team – in the final week of the season to secure a berth for UTD in the conference tournament. UTD fought its way to the tournament championship game where the Comets succumbed to East Texas Baptist.

“I think she’s deserving,” sophomore second baseman Sarah Ardlt said. “She’s been a great asset and teacher. She did a great job preparing us the best she could.”

“She’s a great coach,” senior centerfielder Shaunna Lawrence said. “She helped our team bond together and helped us believe in ourselves.”

Hoffmann deflected the honor, saying she is nothing without the dedication of her players.

“Personally, I was shocked to have received this honor,” Hoffmann said. “It gives the team a little notoriety. It shows they’ve stuck with the program and responded well to the way I coach.”

“She brought us a long way in the three years of the program,” Ardlt said. “We were able to come out and play the way we needed to play to do well in the conference tournament.”

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