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Warley one of youngest softball coaches in NJCAA

September 27, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

By JOHNNY BUCK – Special to the Bulletin

Most college seniors stay busy with schoolwork while hoping they’ll be able to land a great job after graduationAP_Amanda_Warley_mug_culr

Amanda Warley already has both — the schoolwork and the dream job.

The 21-year-old senior at North Carolina Wesleyan College is also the current head softball coach at Patrick Henry Community College.

During the week, she’s taking classes, doing homework and communicating with PHCC athletic director Kathleen Brown, who will handle PHCC’s daily practices this semester. Come Friday night, however, Warley is driving 2.5 hours to Martinsville so that she can coach the Patriots on the weekends.

“I sit here after I do my homework, and I just keep running situations through my head trying to figure out what players I can put where, to bring out the best for everybody and get the most for the team,” said Warley, who played softball at PHCC from 2009-11. “It’s a lot of hard work, but seeing them play and enjoy it and have fun, it all pays off. I love being there and helping them become better people and better players.”

Warley was a two-year starter for PHCC and a first-team all-Region X selection 2011 as a left fielder. She’s also a member of the college’s athletics’ hall of fame.

The Hanover County native also started two years for N.C. Wesleyan, playing third base in the spring of 2012 and 2013. Now, she’s one of the youngest National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) head coaches in the country.

Her career at Patrick Henry began this summer after getting hired to replace Brown, who was promoted to AD. Warley was on the recruiting trail every weekend from June through early August. Roughly one month ago, softball practices started at PHCC, and last weekend the Patriots opened the fall scrimmage season by splitting a doubleheader at Richard Bland College.

It’s been a whirlwind ride for the Atlee High School alum, but she’s got no complaints.

“It’s been great. I love it. I love the girls. I feel like I have 12 kids now, so I think I’ll be good on the parenting for a while,” she said with a laugh. “That team and PHCC are my family right now, and they know that. They know I’d do anything for them. I love it.”

Brown, who guided the softball program from its inception in 2008 until this summer, keeps Warley updated with daily practice reports during the week. All of the Patriots’ fall scrimmages take place on the weekends, allowing Warley to coach from the dugout during every game.

That will be the case this weekend, when PHCC traveled to play U.Va.-Wise on Saturday before hosting its only home games of the fall today, a triad against Louisburg College and Richard Bland that starts at noon.

She will relocate from her current home in Rocky Mount, N.C., to Martinsville and take over all aspects of the program as soon as she graduates from N.C. Wesleyan this December.

PHCC’s regular season games don’t begin until February.

Though the oldest player on her current team is nearly 21, Warley said the players have accepted her with open arms.

“The respect thing is not an issue at all. They do know that I’m still in college and have to finish up, but they’re great with the respect thing, and they’re great listeners, even if they don’t necessarily agree with everything I say at all times,” she explained.

Warley’s made her expectations clear from the first practice on Aug. 17th: Play hard, play smart, play clean.

“I want to have a team that is respectful and has a lot of sportsmanship. We play hard, don’t get me wrong, but they’re gonna be respectful,” she explained. “They’re not gonna cuss in front of people – umpires or families – but we’ll have fun, and that’s never gonna change. I feel like if we take the fun out of this game that these girls may use to take out anger or stress from school, then they aren’t going to want to play anymore. So we’ll never take away the fun.”

With practice plans, weekend games, recruiting and schoolwork of her own, Warley doesn’t have much down time. But she can speak from personal experience when selling the merits of PHCC, and she can easily relate to college students, because she is one.

“PHCC is a great school for someone who is coming out of high school and wants to play at a higher level but just needs a couple more years of pushing and playing to get to their top ability and reach their dream goals,” she said. “It’s also good for kids who might be in tough financial situations, and it’s an extremely good option” for high school players who might not qualify academically for certain four-year programs, she said.

“You can come to PH and tell those (Division I) coaches to follow you,” she explained, “and if you improve your skills and your grades, then your dreams can come true.”

Just like hers did.

Filed under: Softball

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