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Terriers’ New Softball Head Coach

Ashley Waters brings energy, enthusiasm to BU diamond

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Softball is in Ashley Waters’ blood. When she was a toddler, her mother would bring her to the softball diamond while she coached the Amesbury, Mass., high school varsity softball team. That ignited a lifelong passion for the sport.

“I pretty much grew up on the field,” says Waters, new head coach of the BU softball team. “I was at practices kind of just hanging out, so softball has really been engrained in me my whole entire life.”

Her playing career on the Amesbury High softball team, coached by her mother, culminated senior year in being chosen by the Boston Globe for the Will McDonough Award, bestowed annually on an outstanding female athlete in Massachusetts. From there, she went on to the University of Maine, where she played infield for the Black Bears for four years, earning America East All-Conference First Team honors as a junior and senior and Player of the Year after her senior campaign in 2008. After graduating, Waters spent two years playing for Connecticut’s Stratford Brakettes, an amateur team in the women’s major division of the Amateur Softball Association. She then took the top assistant coaching job under head coach Jenny Allard at Harvard, responsible for coordinating infield and hitting instruction and recruiting.

Waters says she learned so much about the game from Allard. “Coach Allard was excellent at development—I think she did a wonderful job of giving me experience and throwing me in different situations,” she says. “It’s nice to know that there are certain situations that come up now that I think, OK, I’ve dealt with this before.”

But it’s her mother more than anyone, she says, who has influenced her love of the game and her coaching ethic. “She always made me work hard and be humble with success, and there’s certain pieces of that that I really have taken with me in terms of the coaching,” Waters says. “If there’s one thing I can say about her, it’s that she doesn’t stop and is a tremendously hard worker, so I really think I’ve taken that from her.”

When it came time to appoint BU’s seventh softball head coach last summer, Drew Marrochello, assistant vice president and director of athletics, says Waters stood out immediately. “When we conduct a search for a head coach, we are focused on finding the right fit for not just our team, but for BU,” he says. “And for every category we identified—providing our students with a top-notch experience, supporting the academic pursuits of students attending a prestigious university, competing in the highest level nationally, and understanding the softball landscape in Massachusetts and the Northeast—Ashley checked every box.”

“She brings a great energy, and we all kind of feed off of it,” says outfielder and cocaptain Moriah Connolly (Questrom’17). “She’s very honest and we appreciate that because in the past we didn’t always have that type of relationship with our coach.”

Waters says she looks for “kids that have grit and want to grind, and they want to play inning one through inning seven.”

Waters says she looks for “kids that have grit and want to grind, and they want to play inning one through inning seven.”

In describing her coaching philosophy, Waters says it’s important to be direct. “I believe in honesty and letting players know exactly where they stand and what their role is. I don’t want there to be a secret or mystery. You teach them and coach them with respect.” She says that players also need to be tenacious. “The culture for me needs to be kids that have grit and want to grind, and they want to play inning one through inning seven. Whether we win or lose, there’s always a fight there until the last pitch, which I love.”

Waters says that for her, it’s about building up her players. “At the end of the day, I want them to know that I care about them and love them and that’s what I really want to get across.”

So far this season, the team’s record is 11-15, with 23 games left in the regular season. Heading into their Patriot League play this past weekend, the Terriers had won seven of their last eight contests. They got off to a rough start in the conference though, dropping three straight games at Army West Point. But their determination this season is evident in the fact that 8 of their 15 losses have been decided by only one run.

“Our team is very gritty. For pretty much all of our games we’re always in it fighting,” says infielder and cocaptain Brittany Younan (Questrom’17). “It’s tough to come up one run short, but our pitchers are doing a great job of fighting for us and our offensive is very scrappy, and I think that comes a lot from our coaches—our coaches never give up.”

The Terriers have played only 2 of their 26 scheduled games at the BU softball field so far this season, but that’s about to change: 14 of their final 23 games will be at home. That begins today when they host rival Boston College at 4 p.m., and continues for the next six games.

“BC is a really good team, but we always talk about not worrying about who the opponent is because we still have to do our part to make good contact with the ball, staying behind the ball, things like that,” says Connolly. “We know how to play for each other.”

“I think that we’ve found our comfort in certain areas, and we’re still working in others,” Waters says. “The one thing about softball is you can never be satisfied. It’s an incredibly humbling sport. Someone can be on one day and off the next, so everyone has to pick them up and work together as a full unit.” 

The BU softball team hosts Boston College today, March 30, at 4 p.m. at the BU softball field, 100 Ashford St., across from the Track & Tennis Center. The game is free and open to the public. 

Josh Gutchess can be reached at jgutch12@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on Terriers’ New Softball Head Coach

  • Lindsey Waters on 03.30.2016 at 7:43 pm

    My little sister is such an inspiration to me. I’m so incredibly proud of her. She had always been so driven and motivated her position suites get well. I played sports my entire life and would have loved to play for a coach with that drive and energy! She would make any athlete better just by her motivation. Go Terriers! We love Ashley. You’re always going to kill it, we all know that! Xoxoxo

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