Fillies’ Softball Coach, Jennifer Walls, said that the key to her softball philosophy is to “always be a student of the game; you’re never too old, you’re never too good of a player to stop growing physically and mentally,” even at the instructors’ level.
Walls said, “the game of softball is always changing, so sometimes the coaching styles always have to adapt to the game.” Change also happens to be a big reason behind her love for coaching.
“I really like seeing the players develop and it’s crazy to see a group like my sophomores—they’re a completely different set of players than they were a year ago.”
A native of southern California, Walls started playing ball as a catcher when she was eight years old. At 12, she began pitching and hated it. In her undergrad years, Walls went to Long Beach State in Southern California for two years. “I really played for a coach that made me hate the game… I was miserable,” she recalled.
She was released after her sophomore year and transferred to Arizona. While there, Walls “got the opportunity to pitch in the College World Series in 2009, of course, Alabama beat us, but it was still a great experience.”
After college ball, Walls played professional ball in Italy for about 13 months. She said it was a great experience and wishes she could go back. After Italy, Walls looked towards furthering her education and sent out her resume to as many schools as she could. Georgia Southwestern University offered her a grad. assistant position.
“Basically, I would go there, they’d pay for my master’s degree, pay for where I lived and gain some coaching experience.”
After three years of school and a degree, Walls moved back to California, but she quickly realized “I missed Georgia.”
“Coach Donna Campbell—I had become friends with her while I was coaching at Georgia Southwestern—was about to retire,” added Walls.
Campbell called her and told her to apply for the opening at ABAC. Walls said, “When I applied, I think it was only two or three days before the deadline so I thought ‘there’s no way I’m going to get it,’ and I let Donna know I applied.”
Athletic Director Alan Kramer contacted her for an interview, in which she flew from California to tour ABAC’s campus.
“I flew back home and found out I got the job. I told my dad, ‘I guess I’m packing up my stuff again and moving back to Georgia,’ and he was like ‘this is the last time you’re moving.’”
Jennifer Walls began her new position on Aug. 1, 2015, and the Fillies currently stand at 18-12.