By Kurt Jensen
Two and a half years ago Mary Kay Amicone was announced as head coach of the softball team, which had been changed from a club to a varsity sport three months earlier.
Last year Amicone led the softball team through a successful season as it won the Mountain West Conference championship and advanced to regionals in the NCAA tournament.
“Last year was record-setting for us,” Amicone said.
Included in that record-setting year was the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year award for Amicone.
Before coming to BYU Amicone was a teacher and a coach for three years at the high school level and was an assistant coach at the University of Utah for seven years.
Her love for the game comes through in her coaching.
“She makes practice fun,” senior second baseman Kari Pringle said. “She always has something for you to do.”
Junior right fielder Brooke Cadiente agreed with Pringle.
“She”s a lot of fun,” she said. “She”s a lot easier to communicate with than other coaches I”ve had.”
Amicone said she decided to start coaching because of her love for teaching and because she wanted the players to see they could have both a family and a career.
“I saw how the two could really affect a person”s life,” she said.
In describing how coaching at the college level differs from high school, Amicone said the college situation is similar to a business because the athletes have to perform more extensively. For example, the players only get about four weeks off between seasons.
Amicone said college is also different because players are doing more important things in their lives than softball.
“You have to learn to balance that out and that”s been a good learning curve for me,” Amicone said.
Coaching at BYU has brought the challenge of working to establish a tradition for the relatively new softball program.
“We”re still developing a mentality of that tradition that will follow volleyball and soccer,” Amicone said.
She said most players want to play in the PAC-10 conference because of the successful traditions those teams have created, and she wants to build the same tradition at BYU.
Based on the results of her first two seasons and what her players say about her, Amicone is off to a good start in establishing that tradition of success.