Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An Interview with Andrea Harrison

Former UCLA star Andrea Harrison was arguably one of the best hitters to ever wear the Bruin uniform. From her freshman season in 2009 to her senior year in 2012, she lit up some of the country's best pitchers and had tremendous success in one of the toughest conferences.
Andrea was drafted by the USSSA Pride with the #4 overall pick in the 2012 National Pro Fastpitch draft. The Pride selected her as their second pick of the draft, following #1 overall Brittany Mack. Harrison's insane offensive numbers and defensive versatility would have made her NPF career a great one. But, as he further expounds on at one point below, she did not sign a contract and never wore a Pride uniform.

Andrea now lives in Norman, Oklahoma, where she not only had the opportunity to attend the WCWS and enjoy Oklahoma's victory, but also to assist first-hand in the repair and recovery of Moore, Oklahoma. She even set up a fundraiser for a family affected by the disaster. In twenty-one days, she raised more than $4,100, more than doubling her original fundraising goal.

When you're done here, be sure to follow Andrea on Twitter @dreagirl8.

Q: How did you get your start playing softball? When did you know it was “your sport”?
  • I started playing softball because my older sister Monica did. She also attended UCLA a year before me. I did not know it was my sport until high school really. I really loved to hit and developed my power in my last few years of high school.
Q: Why did you choose to attend school and play ball at UCLA? What about the school appealed to you?
  • I have a different story about college. I was junior college bound. I had terrible grades in high school, and took the SAT 7 times and got the same score every single time. I was content going to a junior college until one day I was saved by Jesus Christ. I realized I was not using my God given talents. Quickly, I turned my high school GPA around and UCLA stuck by my side though everything. It is hands down the best school in the country for academics and athletics. UCLA has the most national championships of any university, and it is also the most applied university in the country. 

Q: Describe what it meant to you to wear the letters and colors of such a storied program and institution as UCLA.
  • It was a honor to represent a program that built the way for college softball. I don't care who you ask, every kid grew up wanting to go to UCLA. While I was there I focused leaving my legacy in the program. 

Q: In your senior year, 2012, the Bruins hosted a regional, but lost their first two postseason games and were eliminated quickly. Describe, if you can, what it was like to have your career end with heartbreak like that.
  • Dealing with a loss is ever easy, and at the moment it was tough to realize I was never going to play for UCLA again, but I had to see the positives. I had already had a job lined up in Oklahoma to teach and coach. I wanted to continue to share the game that I love so much.  

Q: In 2012, you were selected #4 overall in the National Pro Fastpitch draft, by the USSSA Pride. Despite the fact that you never signed a contract or wore a Pride uniform, what was it like to get the news that you had been drafted?
  • It was another honor for me. I had a tough decision to make. Go play softball in the summer, or move and start the next chapter of my life in Oklahoma as a coach and teacher. I prayed about it a lot and felt God was leading me towards high school kids.

Q: Tell us about your current endeavors, since your softball-playing career ended.
  • I continue to be very blessed. I am currently the head coach at Norman High School where I teach world history. I work softball camps and also give private lessons. I couldn't imagine myself away from the game. Softball had done so much for me, and I feel it's my job to give back. 

Q: Was it always your desire to be an educator and a coach?
  • Once I changed my ways and decided to get my act together in high school, my focus changed and I realized I wanted to coach. My degree is in history, and since I struggled in school, I now teach mild to moderate special ed which is very rewarding.  

Q: Let’s say you could have any super power imaginable! What would you want to be able to do?
  • Teleport. My family is in Orange County, California. I wish I was able to see them more. They support me and this chapter of my life, but it would be nice to see them more. 

Q: If you could sit down and have dinner with any three people from history, whether currently living or dead, who would they be and why?
  • Jesus Christ, Andre Either, Adam Sandler  

Q: Say you were stranded on a deserted island, and could only take three items with you, boats and phones not allowed. What would you carry along?
  • My Bible, Uno cards, and Chapstick.

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