Softball welcomes back familiar face during Wednesday exhibition
Oct. 12, 2012
Sarah Fetters, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- Nearly two-and-a-half years after ending her collegiate career in May of 2010, Loryn Johnson returned to Red & Charline McCombs Field, only this time she was not patrolling the infield or wearing burnt orange. Johnson, clad in red and black apparel, is entering her second year along the third-base line as the head softball coach at Alvin Community College.
"It was definitely different," Johnson, who sang "The Eyes of Texas" with the current Longhorns' squad before the game, said of occupying the opposing team dugout. "It brought back a lot of memories. I walked out here and saw many familiar faces. I had a great time at Texas and it was nice coming here.
"I wanted my kids to have the experience of playing out here. It's beautiful and there is always fan support. I brought them a little piece of a place that is like home to me."
While residing on the Forty Acres, Johnson earned a trio of National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region selections and an Easton Third-Team All-America honor in 2009. She etched her name onto nearly every career record list as she stands in the top 10 in 12 career offensive categories, including second in runs batted in (139), third in hits (230) and fifth in batting average (.340).
In addition to pursuing a professional playing career, Johnson, who knew she wanted coaching to be part of her future, stayed close to Austin upon graduation by joining the Division III Southwestern University softball staff out of Georgetown, Texas, in August of 2010.
"I always knew I was going to coach," Johnson said. "I didn't know what level, though. I always thought big Division I. But then the further away from home and away from my family I was, I was content to go the junior college route."
After a year with the Pirates' staff, the Alvin native and youngest of five children took the opportunity to return home to the local community college.
"I'm in my hometown and it's awesome," Johnson said. "I'm able to coach and do what I love, but yet still have my family and time with them. That's rare, especially in the college coaching world."
In her first year back home, Johnson wanted to focus on the nuances and little things she says she may have taken for granted as a player. The philosophy worked as the Dolphins turned in a 24-20 record, finished as the No. 2 seed in the Region XIV South Division and earned a spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIV Tournament.
"We really break down and teach the game," Johnson said. "I want to give them all the tools to go on to a four-year [school]. That's my ultimate goal. I want to win ballgames and get them to a four-year [program]."
The satisfaction is likely to remain high for Johnson in 2013 as her roster features eight sophomores and she has another year of experience under her belt.
"The room for growth across the board, whether it's strength, conditioning, defense, offense or pitching, is just huge," Johnson said. "It's really rewarding day in and day out."