Liberty softball coach returns to alma mater UCLA for NCAA regional

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:05 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - As if head coach Dot Richardson had a crystal ball, the Liberty softball team’s regular season schedule put the Flames in a powerful position entering the UCLA regional.

“I always look at his schedule and I say, Who could we play? When you want to be the best, you have to play the best and prove your better,” says Richardson. “So it’s not just about playing them, it’s about competing. And that’s what this program does.”

It’s been 40 years since Coach Richardson suited up for the UCLA bruins, but the current Liberty head coach’s legacy still holds meaning.

“Last time we went to UCLA, we saw her whole body on the fence in left field,” laughs senior infielder Devyn Howard. “It’s great to see like one of your coaches excel at something from back in the day, and then like, have it come full circle.”

“It’s exciting that that’s her alma mater, and that we’ve been there this season already,” adds junior pitcher Karlie Keeney. “I think it would, it would be a great storyline if we could go back there and win that regional for her.”

This UCLA regional matchup for the Flames is not the first time the team has played in the Golden State- having played the Bruins.

While this time Coach Richardson may be pulling against her alma mater, she says it’s all about the growth of the Liberty Softball program.

“When you look at going to UCLA, it brings back a lot of memories for me obviously, but it started a program just like us. When I went to UCLA, we won the first NCAA championship ever offered to women in sport. To win the first NCAA championship and to see how UCLA has grown in the tradition, that is what we want to do here at Liberty. It starts with student athletes that have that same vision, who want to be able to be to put a program on the map. And when you look at that it’s really about leaving a legacy”

Liberty’s first game is on Friday at 11 p.m. Eastern against San Diego State.