Linda Witt will be closely watching the Northern Colorado softball team this week, as the Bears play a postseason game for the first time in nearly 40 years at the National Invitational Softball Championships.
She’ll see the proceedings, however, from three perspectives.
Witt was a star player for the Bears in the late 1970’s when the program reached the Women’s College World Series like clockwork and held up just fine in taking on power conference programs like Minnesota, Texas A&M, Arizona and plenty of others.
She got her hands dirty again years later, as head coach for the Bears, starting in 2001 and shortly after the program had been shuttered for 15 years.
And the last look comes this week, with Witt relishing the sight of her Bears in the postseason and, as always, a longtime believer in what the sport does for the person and the group as a whole. UNC will host one of the four regionals of the 2018 NISC, welcoming Loyola Marymount, Colorado State and South Dakota State to town.
Witt played from 1976-78 at Northern Colorado, coming to the program as a catcher but then moving to second base.
On her playing days -- “Every game was a gift; we had short seasons, 25-30 games per season and did a lot of traveling in March and April because of the snow in Greeley. The World Series was the expected ending; Gloria Rodriguez was the head coach, and her expectations were phenomenally high, and all of us followed her example. We were surrounded by amazing professors who coached of that department.”
On taking the head coaching position -- “Softball was strong in Colorado by then, and UNS reinstating the program was a natural extension of that wave of interest. At that time, they were 10th of 10 teams in the conference – we were fourth the next year, and then we started the transition to D-I. We were independent, and recruiting became more of a challenge because we didn’t have a conference or a postseason opportunity. It was a challenging time … we saw it through, and then UNC joined the Big Sky, which didn’t support softball at that time.”
On seeing UNC in the postseason – “What Shana Easley has done for the program, and all the support from the administration … there’s a commitment to excellence that we’ve enjoyed, and they are continuing to strive for.”