Click a winner as first-year head coach
Rachael Click just completed her first year as the College of Saint Benedict head softball coach. The 26-year-old is a Rochester Mayo and Gustavus Adolphus College graduate. At Gustavus, she was an honor student and a four-time all-conference softball player. Click was the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior and an All-American.
This season, the Saint Benedict softball team (Saint Joseph, Minn.) had immediate success under Click's leadership, winning 20 games for the first time in eight years (20-18 overall). The school plays in the MIAC.
Post-Bulletin:This isn't your first coaching stop. You were also a two-year assistant softball coach at Jacksonville (Fla.) University, and before that spent one season assisting at Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Compared to those places, what kind of shape did you find the Saint Benedict program you inherited?
Click:There were certain things that needed to happen in order to be successful that weren't happening. For example, the team was not playing non-conference games. It is important to fill your team's schedule every year (40 games) to give your players more opportunities to improve and to help your team's post-season chances. Commitment and expectations also had to increase and were more similar to what I experienced at UWEC and JU. Practices were longer and more intense and the team placed more emphasis on off-season training, conditioning and weight lifting.
P-B:What kind of potential does the Saint. Benedict softball program have? And when you recruit, which you're in the midst of now, how far do you spread your recruiting net?
Click:The Saint Benedict program has the potential to be very successful, and they have been successful in the past, they just haven't been top 1-3 (in the MIAC)and it is my goal to get them there. . .sooner than later. The success of athletic departments has so much to do with what the school has to offer. I believe the College ofSaint Benedict and Saint John's University sell themselves; they are great schools and will provide students with a great experience. This definitely helps with recruiting. This summer I will cast a very wide net with my recruits, contacting a lot of prospective student athletes and recruiting in five different states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Colorado).
P-B:What have you appreciated most about going from an assistant coach to a head coach? How about least?
Click:I have appreciated being able to make my own decisions. I like to think I have some creative ideas and now I don't have to have the approval of others to implement these ideas. I have least appreciated making the difficult decisions; who will make the team, who will make the starting lineup, etc.
P-B:What has struck you about all-women's college Saint Benedict, which is slightly less known than Saint John's, its all-male counterpart just a few miles down the road?
Click:A common misconception is that these two schools are separate. In reality the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's are completely co-ed with the exception of residence halls and athletic departments.
P-B:You beat your alma mater this season, traditionally strong Gustavus. It was the first time Saint Benedict had done that since 2004. How geared up were you to play them and was that the highlight of your season?
Click:I wouldn't say it was the highlight of the season. I had a lot of highlights, but it was fun. It was exciting to be back on campus coaching against and in front of a lot of familiar faces.
P-B:You've presumably got a bit of downtime coming this summer. What's something you're going to do for fun?
Click:I like to try and stay active. I picked up golf this past summer and play with some colleagues on Monday afternoons. I now understand why others find it so addicting. On Tuesday nights I attempt to relive the glory days by playing fastpitch at Dunning Park in Saint Paul. I also play on a coed slowpitch team in town. It's sad how quickly I get sore.