The Western Sun

New coach leads team to new heights

Andrew Kine, Staff Writer

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Meet the head coach of Golden West College’s softball program, Stephanie Engle. Formerly a player with the Chapman Panthers, Engle had a .415 on-base percentage and a .498 slugging percentage before moving onward to a Masters in Sports Management from California State University, Long Beach.

“I am a Huntington Beach native who is the product of the junior college system,” Engle said. “Originally, in high school, I had my dreams set on attending a four-year university but due to unforeseen circumstances, I found myself a graduating senior with no place to call home next semester. Until . . . the head softball coach at OCC, Ruby Rojas, contacted me to come play for her.”

Engle played one season at OCC and then transferred, with Rojas to Mt. SAC, who became the assistant coach.
“I played under legendary coach Kelly Ford and had the opportunity to compete at a high level and be coached by two strong, independent, confident women who truly inspired me more than they will probably ever know,” Engle said. “Those two years at the JC level changed my life. I would not be the athlete, person, or coach I am today without them. “

When Engle heard of the opening at GW – a job at a two-year in her hometown, where she could have the opportunity to change lives, just like hers – it was the job of a lifetime.

Engle believes that softball teaches more than just hand-eye coordination and how to get fit.
“It teaches us invaluable skills for life,” she said. “Communication, teamwork, leadership, time-management skills, focusing on the things you can control, discipline, the value of hard work and many more.”

The Rustlers had a 42-game losing streak over two seasons and all but one member of the team transferred to other schools in May. Of the new team, Engle said, “We started slow and taught them the game of softball. I think we didn’t even hit them balls or pitch to them for a whole month. We worked from the ground up and created a solid foundation. At the same time, we started building our culture. A culture free of drama and a place for our athletes to just be themselves and accept their teammates for who they are.”

Engle’s foundation building must be working: the team has already won four times as many games this year as they did in 2017, sporting a 4-6 record.

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New coach leads team to new heights