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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

USSSA Pride Change Coaches

Some surprising news came down from USSSA Pride headquarters last week, as it was announced that head coach Beth Torina would not be returning for her 4th season of association with the team and 2nd at the helm of the squad.

No specific reason was given for Torina's departure, although an official statement gave "personal reasons" as the cause for her resignation. Torina started her NPF career in 2010 as an assistant coach on Tim Walton's staff. She took over the reins in 2012, and led the team to a stellar 31-12 record.

Also the head coach of the LSU Tigers, Torina's team was surprisingly eliminated in the regional round by Louisiana-Lafayette. 2012 #1 draft pick Brittany Mack, who was coached by Torina in both her senior collegiate season and her rookie professional year, was unexpectedly traded to the Akron Racers this offseason. Speaking solely out of speculation, either or both could have had at least an effect on Torina's decision.
J.T. D''Amico

The Pride front office wasted no time in finding a replacement to fill Torina's shoes, announcing just three days later that Washington Huskies "defensive coordinator" J.T. D'Amico will take over as Pride head coach, beginning as soon as his team's collegiate season is completed. D'Amico is in his fifth year as Washington's defensive specialist, and was a part of the 2009 championship team. Under his guiding and tutelage, Jenn Salling was named the 2011 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

One of the biggest parts of this hire, at least in my eyes, is the wrench it could throw into the Pride's mechanics. They've had a nice system set up for the past couple of years, a system that resulted in certain players getting the majority of playing time in the field, while others had to straddle the bench more often than not. The interesting part is that several of those "role-players" that didn't see a lot of playing time come from the Huskies program, and played under D'Amico and head coach Heather Tarr. Salling and Niki Williams both saw a limited amount of playing time last season, so it will be interesting to see if that changes with D'Amico at the helm.

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