Softball Season Preview: Coaches, Schedule

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees and the Rebels are aiming for regionals in 2013.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees and the Rebels are aiming for regionals in 2013.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Jan. 29, 2013

This is part one of a four-part series previewing the 2013 Ole Miss softball season. Part one focuses on the Rebels' coaching staff and schedule.

OXFORD, Miss. - There's a different vibe at the Ole Miss Softball Complex these days. As Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees prepares the Rebels for their 17th year in program history, and their second under her tutelage, the goal is clear: Regionals.

It's a place Ole Miss has never been before, but it's a place and date Thees has made the Rebels save on their calendar.

"We don't have a saying or anything that we're going with, but we do have an expectation, and that is that we will be in regionals for the first time this year," Thees said. "That is our expectation, and anything short of that will make this a disappointing season for us."

COACHES

Last year, Ole Miss improved its overall win total by eight games, and its conference win total by four. Gone are four position starters from that team, and coming in are nine newcomers, including two junior transfers and seven freshmen. Helping Thees get every player on the same page will be assistant coaches Julie Meyer and Mike Perniciaro, who both return from last year's squad, a key Thees says is imperative to a team's success.

"It's the bench mark of almost every successful program," Thees said. "You don't really see teams win that rotate their staff out a lot. You just don't see it happen. When you find a good staff, you keep them and you keep them happy as much as you can and do everything in your power to help their career, but keep them happy so maybe they'll want to stick around."

One of the many advantages of having continuity in a coaching staff is in the world of recruiting. With Meyer and Perniciaro back, the recruiting pitch remains consistent. When talking with potential recruits, the three coaches lay out what they're looking for and what they are going to expect from them. In the words of Thees, those student-athletes are extremely tough and extremely competitive and they don't accept losing.

"We're winners here," Thees said. "Coach Pooch, Julie and I, that's what we are, and that's who we're recruiting. We're recruiting kids who want to be at the start of what we're doing, because that's where we are right now. This is an amazing school, with an amazing facility and an absolutely fabulous athletic department. Getting kids to come here to this school is fine, now we have to convince them that, `We want you to come, but you better come ready to play and ready to help take us to Oklahoma City, which is where we want to go.' "

SCHEDULE

The Rebels schedule is both difficult and exciting. Spanning from Hawaii to Florida, the 2013 Rebels will get to see many places and face many great opponents, including 12 teams ranked or receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 preseason poll.

The Rebels open the season in Honolulu with the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic, where they will face No. 25 Hawaii and No. 16 Washington, in addition to Saint Mary's and UAB.

Ole Miss' home opener will be against LSU in a rare non-conference matchup. Because the two teams do not face each other in the SEC regular season, Thees and LSU head coach Beth Torina decided they would like to continue the rivalry by playing one game against each other in a non-conference game setting. The game will also be special as the Rebels and Tigers will be playing it as a charity event.

"We're going to do it as a charity event where we're going to be donating new or gently used sports equipment to their Geaux Play program that was started by former LSU All-American Brittany Mack," Thees said. "It's a really cool program and we're excited to be a part of it."

Ole Miss will host the Red and Blue Classic from Feb. 22-24, where it will face McNeese State, Tennessee-Martin, Drake, Middle Tennessee State and Mississippi Valley State.

In SEC action, the Rebels will travel to Kentucky, Georgia, Auburn and Mississippi State. Ole Miss will host SEC newcomers No. 7 Missouri and No. 17 Texas A&M, in addition to No. 15 Florida and No. 5 Tennessee.

With the grueling 56-game regular season schedule in front of them, the Rebels are ready and excited to play ball. The goal is to rewrite the Ole Miss record book and make NCAA regionals, and they know the journey will be tough, Thees said, but the Rebels are ready for it.

"We're on a mission," Thees said. "We're going to have fun, but we're on a mission. When we don't achieve something one day we need to be disappointed. We need to be mad. We need to accept the fact that the coaches are going to yell. You're going to have to work harder. This mission that we're on to get to postseason play is going to be more intense, but that's exactly what the girls have fed on all fall."

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 Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Ole Miss, MSU Renew Rivalry on Hardwood

      Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss meets Mississippi State on the hardwood the for 250th time Wednesday, which makes it the most-played rivalry in the Southeastern Conference.  Like the rivalry in football, where the road team last won in 2010, the home team has... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 20-26, 2015)

      Monday, January 26, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 20-26, 2015Men's Basketball - Senior guard Jarvis Summers scored 4 points in the final 26.6 seconds to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Florida Saturday. Summers scored a team-high 16 points, including... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 25

      Sunday, January 25, 2015 - Athletics

      Classes started on the Ole Miss campus this past week, as the men's and women's basketball teams enter the heart of Southeastern Conference play. Some of the spring sports have started their 2015 seasons, while others are gearing up for... read more

    • Prewitt Caps Impressive Week at Senior Bowl

      Sunday, January 25, 2015 - Football

      Former Ole Miss safety Cody Prewitt capped an impressive week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, with a game-high five tackles in the game itself Saturday. His former teammate, cornerback Senquez Golson sat out the game with a hamstring... read more

    • VIDEO: Home is Ole Miss

      Friday, January 23, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss Football: Home is Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • VIDEO: Ole Miss Baseball Omaha Challenge

      Friday, January 23, 2015 - Baseball

      The Season: Ole Miss Baseball: Omaha Challenge 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Rivalry Game with NCAA Tournament Implications

      Thursday, January 22, 2015 - Women's Basketball

      Ole Miss closes out a three-game stretch in which they will have faced three consecutive ranked opponents when they welcome No. 18 Mississippi State on Thursday night. The Rebels are 1-1 through the first two games of the stretch, having... read more

    • Prewitt, Golson Impress at Senior Bowl Practices

      Thursday, January 22, 2015 - Football

       Photo GalleryCody Prewitt and Senquez Golson will represent Ole Miss in the Senior Bowl, which will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. CT from Mobile, Alabama, and will be televised by the NFL Network. The duo have already had a busy... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 13-19, 2015)

      Monday, January 19, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 13-19, 2015Men's Basketball - Ole Miss thrashed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82 on Saturday. The Rebels picked up their first true road win over a ranked opponent since 2003 and scored the second-most points ever... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 18

      Sunday, January 18, 2015 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss men's and women's basketball teams both made some history, while the men's and women's tennis teams started their spring seasons. National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and the start of baseball season (Feb. 13) are less than a... read more

    • Key Stretch Starts with Tough Test in LSU

      Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      After an up-and-down non-conference slate that included wins over Creighton, Cincinnati and Oregon, all away from home, and losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky, both at home, Ole Miss learned a lot about itself in the first week of... read more

    • Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 Rankings

      Tuesday, January 13, 2015 - Football

      Ole Miss football finished the 2014 football season with a 9-4 record and a top-20 final national rankings in both polls. The Rebels come in at No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 19 in the Amway Coach... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 6-12, 2015)

      Monday, January 12, 2015 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewJan. 6-12, 2015Women's Basketball - Ole Miss went 2-0 on the week with a road win at Florida and a win at home against Alabama, moving to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC action while... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Jan. 11

      Sunday, January 11, 2015 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss men's basketball team opened SEC play, while the Ole Miss women's basketball team continued SEC play, as we enter the heart of college basketball season. Over the weekend, the men's and women's teams posted wire-to-wire wins on... read more

    • Rebels to Open SEC Play ' in Grand Fashion'

      Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss looks to reverse history, as the Rebels (9-4) travel to No. 1 Kentucky tonight (6 p.m., SEC Network), the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top ranked team, last playing... read more