With a deep Keene State College connection and a former assistant coaching position here at KSC, the softball team is adjusting well to the new head coach, Carrah Fisk Hennessey.

All coaches have a certain philosophy and preach some values to their teams. Hennessey said, “I do not ask anything of my

Photo Editor / Tim Smith

Photo Editor / Tim Smith

team that I wouldn’t ask of myself. We are committed to playing with grit and grace; when adversity strikes, as it has this season more than any of us could have expected, we work harder, we work smarter, and we do so gracefully.”

She explained this to her team as “walk the talk,” in other words, to practice what is preached.

According to senior KSC softball player Sara Bracken, “Carrah preaches to us to always protect the ball and go out every game and play one-hundred-and-ten percent. She always has stressed working hard from day one of practice and I think that’s stayed with us throughout the season.”

In addition to Bracken, another senior of KSC softball, Katie Newell, explained that Hennessey stresses being mentally and physically prepared and smart.

“Most people do not realize how much of a mental sport softball is, and Carrah has a great way of getting inside our heads positively so we succeed,” Newell said.

Another softball senior, Rachel Boynton, added, “Carrah always preaches grit and grace. As a team we can get it done, and we can get it done with poise and respect.”

Along with philosophies, all coaches have different styles. Hennessey stated how preparation is the key to competing successfully and at the highest level.

“I plan creative practices that are comprehensive in skill work, as well as situational play and team building. I embrace player feedback​ and challenge every player to earn her spot every day,” Hennessey said.

Newell stated that Hennessey is very fair and encouraging. She explained that Hennessey will put the players out on the field who give the team the best chance to win that day.

“She would play all freshmen if they were the best out there. She is very organized and always has a plan in the back of her head, and I love that for a coach,” Newell said.

Furthermore, Bracken described her coaching style by saying, “She is tough on the field in the sense that when she wants you to get something done you need to get it done, but laid-back in a way where her office door is always open.”

As a former assistant coach, Henessey said, “The transition from assistant coach to interim head coach and then from interim coach to head coach has been relatively seamless, and, for that, I am thankful on many levels.”

She continued, “There are many more ‘behind the scenes’ responsibilities as the head coach, and what is not seen is not easily understood or appreciated.”

In addition, Bracken explained that Hennessey is a lot more vocal this year, which is necessary as a head coach.

She continued, “I think this year she jumped right into the head coaching position and really ran with it.”

“I’m really excited to see where the softball program goes from here. It’s been at the top for a while, and I think that Carrah can keep Keene State as a contender,” Boynton said.

From a discipline standpoint, Hennessey said, “We follow the guidelines outlined in the KSC Student-Athlete handbook and have more strict expectations of our team, not only when we’re in season, but year round. Reputations are hard to make and fast to break.” She added that as softball players of the school that they represent the entire college and the culture of the college.

Junior Sara Bracken agreed with Coach Hennessey and said, “She wants us to represent KSC softball how it should be represented. We are a close-knit team who works together both on and off the field and that is how it has been since my freshman year here. We value togetherness and appreciate each other on and off the field.”

Coaches do a lot of activities to help the team both on and off the field.

Bracken explained that while the team was in Florida they had a team dinner and attended a KSC baseball game as well.

“She also set up clinics for the local softball players to come to four weekends in February where we worked with the girls in hitting, fielding and pitching,” Bracken added.

Along with Bracken, Newell added that Hennessey has already done so much for this program.

“She is on top of recruiting, as well as, everything she can do for this current team. She is always looking to improve in different areas that in previous years we have not gone over. I think she was the perfect fit for this job,” Newell stated.

“There have been so many changes on campus and in the Keene community since I was a student, yet one key ideal remains, as engraved on the Appian way arch: ‘Enter to learn; go forth to serve.’ I believe I am living those words,” Hennessey said.

For Bracken and Newell, they both explained that this is their first year with a female head coach.

“She is not only my coach but an important mentor and role model for me. I love being able to stop by her office to talk about non-related softball things, but also having her give me constructive criticism when I need it on the softball field,” Newell said.

On a different note, Boynton described Hennessey as “very approachable and respectful.”

She stated that Hennessey tells it like it is, and that these are the necessary qualities to be successful.

Jeff Lunn can be contacted at jlunn@kscequinox.com

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