Softball Season Preview: Coaches, Schedule

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Head coach Windy Thees is entering her third year leading the Ole Miss softball program.

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Head coach Windy Thees is entering her third year leading the Ole Miss softball program.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Jan. 27, 2014

This is part one of a five-part series previewing the 2014 Ole Miss softball season. Part one focuses on the Rebels’ coaching staff and schedule.

OXFORD, Miss. – It is often said competition breeds success. With more talent on the team, more individuals push each other and thus get better by playing against one another. With eight of nine starters returning, including the entire starting infield, the Ole Miss softball team has a lot of competition and a lot of talent heading into the 2014 season.

For Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees, who is entering her third year leading the Rebels, figuring out how to use the Rebels’ depth effectively and making in-game switches is a problem she’s happy to have.

“For us, it’s going to be a lot of fun this year to set up lineups and make changes throughout the year,” Thees said. “As coaches, our challenge is how to use our lineup more effectively, our depth more effectively, and to get wins by making switches at the right time.”

COACHES

For the third consecutive season, Thees will lead the Rebels along with associate head coach Mike Perniciaro and assistant coach Julie Meyer. Together, the trio has increased Ole Miss’ win total in each of the past two years, and have set numerous program records, including hits, walks, stolen bases and fielding percentage in 2013. The Rebels also tied the program’s longest winning streak last season and hosted the largest crowd in the Ole Miss Softball Complex’s history.

“The three of us really have a good thing going,” Thees said. “We understand each other really well, we all know the game and have different viewpoints, and we’re not afraid to share them. And we all want what’s best for our team. I really like our different views that come together to be successful.”

While the staff can sometimes have different philosophies and viewpoints on style of play, that doesn’t mean they’re on different pages. Thees said their ability to bring up different ideas keeps things fresh and makes the game more exciting.

“Being able to have the freedom to communicate thoughts or ideas when you learn something new with each other – and whether we agree to go forward and try something new or not is something else – is great. As a coaching staff and as a coach of a sport, you have to continually look for new things, look for ways to improve and different ways to do things that may even be better than what you’ve always done.”

By working together as a unit for three straight years, the coaching staff has developed a comfort in expressing their ideas and beliefs. Thees said their freedom to communicate without worrying about phrasing it a certain way has allowed them to communicate faster as well.

“I trust Julie to do all the things I assign her and I worry about it much less. Same goes for Mike. And they worry about me less,” Thees said. “But we all always have each other’s backs to make sure we’re all getting our jobs done. It’s great. It’s great having a staff you trust 100 percent.”

SCHEDULE

As is the case every season in the Southeastern Conference, the Rebels face a challenging schedule of opponents in 2014. After opening the season in Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 7, Ole Miss will span the country, traveling to Charleston on the East Coast, and San Diego on the West Coast.

“We’re playing some really solid competition that is going to get us ready for conference play,” Thees said. “We’re playing at some beautiful venues and some universities that have really made a commitment to softball, which I love.”

Ole Miss opens the season at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University, before then traveling to Charleston, S.C., to compete in the College of Charleston Classic.

The Rebels’ home opener comes Feb. 21-23 with the Red and Blue Classic. After winning the annual tournament last season, Ole Miss will welcome in Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Colorado, Saint Louis and Tennessee-Martin this year.

“When you host a tournament your job is to win it,” Thees said. “You have to come out here, defend it and win it. We have a tough crew of opponents coming in again this year, but our team needs to rise up. It will be our first time at home, and we need to play well in front of our home crowd and make Ole Miss proud. We need to show them how much growth we’ve had over the last few years.”

Ole Miss will then fly to California to compete in the San Diego Classic I on the campus of San Diego State University.

“It’s great competition out there and teams we don’t typically get to play down here in the Southeast,” Thees said. “Fresno State has such a rich history, as does San Diego State. It’s really good softball. Going out there is going to be great and that will be the week right before conference.”

In SEC play, Ole Miss will host No. 6 Alabama, Arkansas (which is receiving votes in the preseason USA Today/NFCA Coaches top 25), No. 12 Kentucky and No. 17 LSU. On the road, the Rebels travel to No. 4 Florida, South Carolina (which is hosting this year’s SEC Tournament), No. 14 Missouri and No. 1 Tennessee.

“It’s tough,” Thees said. “Whenever you get your pool of the eight teams you’re playing and the four you’re not, it’s like, ‘OK, here we go.’ We’re going to be playing top-ranked teams week-in and week-out.”

For all Ole Miss softball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissSoftball and on Facebook at Ole Miss Softball.

Ole Miss Softball Promo 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- March 1

      Sunday, March 1, 2015 - Athletics

      The calendar turned to March, as the men's and women's basketball teams march toward the SEC Tournament and postseason play. The baseball team faced perhaps its biggest challenge of nonconference play. The softball and men's tennis teams each had another... read more

    • Rebels Look to Add to NCAA Tournament Case

      Sunday, March 1, 2015 - Women's Basketball

      The numbers and bracket projections may not be in his favor at this point, but head women's basketball coach Matt Insell is selling the NCAA Tournament selection committee on his team passing the eye test, as Ole Miss enters its... read more

    • Kennedy, Rebels Look to Flush LSU Loss

      Saturday, February 28, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      BATON ROUGE, La. -- With an opportunity to perhaps lock itself into the NCAA Tournament, or at the very least enhance its resume, Ole Miss lost back-to-back games for the first time all season, falling on the road at LSU... read more

    • Rebels Look to Enhance NCAA Tournament Resume

      Saturday, February 28, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Despite the most recent home loss to Georgia on Wednesday night, Ole Miss remains a team projected to be solidly in the field, as the Rebels put their school record four-game SEC road winning streak on the line when they... read more

    • PHOTOS: Ole Miss Snow Day 2015

      Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - Athletics

      Here's a collection of snow days photos from Ole Miss Athletics Photographer Josh McCoy (@OleMissPix):The Pavillion at Ole Miss in winter! #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissMBB @OleMissWBB pic.twitter.com/nHyhVPlDvG-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) February 25, 2015 Awweeee.... #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissFB pic.twitter.com/R1BDZ0shvS-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix)... read more

    • VIDEO: The Flagship Football Promo

      Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - Football

      read more

    • Rebels Ready for Rematch with Georgia

      Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      If recent history is any indication, Ole Miss and Georgia are likely to go down to the wire on Wednesday night. Four of the last five meetings over the last three seasons have been decided by five points or less,... read more

    • VIDEO: The Pavilion Time Lapse

      Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      read more

    • Golson, Prewitt Compete at NFL Combine

      Monday, February 23, 2015 - Football

      The defensive backs, including former Ole Miss players Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt, participated in on-field workouts at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. Looking ahead, Ole Miss will hold its annual pro day on March 5... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Feb. 17-23, 2015)

      Monday, February 23, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with a 71-65 win at Mississippi State and a 59-57 victory over Tennessee. The Rebels improved to 10-4 in the... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Feb. 22

      Sunday, February 22, 2015 - Athletics

      Despite winter weather that affected many teams, it was a busy week for Ole Miss athletics. The men's basketball completed a 2-0 week and has positioned itself well entering the last two weeks of the regular season. The baseball, women's... read more

    • Bramlett Impresses in First Two Starts Back

      Sunday, February 22, 2015 - Baseball

      After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum, sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett has been brilliant in his first two outings back in 2015, fanning 19 batters through 12.0... read more

    • VIDEO: Rebel Locker Room by Lids

      Saturday, February 21, 2015 - Athletics

      read more

    • Rebels Look to Complete Thursday-Saturday Sweep

      Saturday, February 21, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      For the second time in as many weeks, Ole Miss embarks on a Thursday-Saturday swing, returning home to host Tennessee on Saturday after a 71-65 win on Thursday at Mississippi State. During the previous week, Ole Miss was on the... read more

    • Moody's Career Night Lifts Ole Miss Past MSU

      Thursday, February 19, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The game hung in the balance.  Mississippi State had just regained a 54-52 lead with 6:25 left, taking advantage of a 6-0 run. Head coach Andy Kennedy challenged his team, and junior guard Stefan Moody answered the... read more