Close Page

MNU softball rides coaching carousel

By Alexis Gonzalez
Mar 28, 2017

The MNU softball program has experienced tremendous turnover at the head coaching position, working with four acting head coaches in the last eight months. The transitions began when head coach Kelly Latendresse resigned the night before the start of the 2016 conference tournament.

Senior pitcher Lydia Reyes said it was up to the team to get their act together despite hearing the news of Latendresse resignation. Reyes even considered leaving MNU.

“We had a night’s sleep to get it all together and go play our hardest for the tournament,” Reyes said. “For a while, I was contemplating ending my career and going back to California.”

Emily Michels, assistant coach under Latendresse, was appointed interim head coach and led the team for the duration of the conference tournament until resigning in June 2016. Over the summer, Lee Dobbins was hired as MNU’s next head coach. Junior catcher Shelby Frans said the team was relieved when it found concrete leadership.

“The biggest struggle was leaving for the summer not knowing anything or what was going to happen with the team,” Frans said. “But we then found out we had a new coach, which was comforting.”

Shelby Frans bats in the first home game of the season against Washburn University (Kansas). Frans said she admires the fact that interim head coach Rob Wade makes an effort to build a relationship with every player. Photo by Jim Smith.Shelby Frans bats in the first home game of the season against Washburn University (Kansas). Frans said she admires the fact that interim head coach Rob Wade makes an effort to build a relationship with every player. Photo by Jim Smith.

On January 9, Dobbins resigned and assistant coach Rob Wade was named interim head coach for the 2017 season. Wade said he was shocked by the news, but was excited for the opportunity to lead the team.

“My biggest fear was having my relationship change with the players now that I was the ‘decision maker,’” Wade said. “But not much has changed. I had a great relationship with them as an assistant and that carried over as the head coach.”

Freshman outfielder Karlie Pepper said it was difficult having three different head coaches within her first semester, but she said she was very happy with the decision to have Wade as their head coach.

“Each [coach] has been better than the last, and Coach Wade definitely encourages us to reach our fullest potential.”

Frans said that she admires Wade as a coach and friend, commending him for his efforts to build relationships and care for the team.

“I love Coach Wade,” Frans said. “Any coach can be all about playing and winning the games, but he also makes it a point to build a relationship with you and always asks how you’re really doing.”

With the instability of coaching transitions held temporarily at bay, the team currently has some consistency. Wade is set to be the interim head coach until August 2017.

“I would absolutely love to stay at MNU if possible,” Wade said. “I believe God put myself and these girls here for a reason and we must make the best of all the circumstances.”

Regardless of the recent coaching instability, Reyes said the team is stronger than ever and is more united with Wade at the helm.

“With Wade as the coach, the team is a lot more cohesive,” Reyes said. “With the talents and leadership we have on the team, there are good things coming.”

Alexis Gonzalez

- More by this author

Alexis Gonzalez is a student at MidAmerica Nazarene University and a reporter for The Trailblazer.

comments powered by Disqus

Quick updates Nov. 2017

Men’s Soccer After an overtime win on penalty kicks on Nov. 3 at No.


Men's basketball team hits the ground running

This isn't true for the members of the MNU men’s basketball team.  Since August, the team has put in many hours on the court, in the weight room, in the film room and even on the track in preparation for the upcoming season.

Mark your calendars for 2066

For the 50th anniversary of MNU’s founding, Kevin Garber, Director of Alumni Relations, and his alumni council put together a time capsule to be opened in the year 2066 or 2067. The council consists of a group of alumni volunteers who support MNU.

These bees are collecting nectar from sunflowers on campus. MNU’s bees fly out about 15 feet high and spread out as far as five miles in order to retrieve nectar for the two hives located on campus. Photo by Dana Palmer.


As of fall 2017, faculty from the science department at MNU have initiated a science club for the purpose of bringing science out of the classroom and into the MNU community.

Protesting to make America great

As opinions fly and the President calls protesters in the NFL “sons of bitches” who should be fired, I can’t help but wonder if people are more upset about a lack of respect for the flag than they are about a lack of respect towards black Americans. Now seems to be a time when people have to pick what they’re most upset about.

How to catch zzz’s without catching C’s

As members of the human race, we tend to agree that there are some “firsts” that will be remembered for the rest of our life. Whether it be our first kiss, our first night away from home or our first day at a “real” job.

Theatre Club Vice President, Brandon Baker is pictured leading the Theatre Club in a game of mafia. Students in the club have learned things such as acting, FSX makeup and improv. Photo by Heather Tinker.

Big things in Bell for fine arts Department

MNU’s department of Fine and Performing Arts has added a worship arts major, pep band and a theater club. The university heritage choir has also been accepted to perform for the Kansas Music Educators Association.

President David Spittal addresses staff and faculty during an all-campus meeting on April 26 in the Bell Cultural Events Center. During the meeting, Spittal gave updates on the New Horizons initiative and announced the closing of MNU’s Liberty, Missouri campus. Photo by Chace Owen.

MNU to close Liberty campus, address unexpected expenses

In an all-campus meeting with faculty and staff on April 26, university president Dr. David Spittal announced that MNU's Liberty, Missouri, campus would be closing in December 2018.

On April 7, Cook Center was transformed for President’s Honors. This event is largely powered by current MNU students, as they served as wait staff, gave personal testimonies to guests and performed in the band and choir. Photo courtesy of MNU public relations.

Student involvement powers President’s Honors

Students and supporters come together as MNU holds largest fundraiser in university history

Videos / See More