Randy York’s N-Sider
After finishing her own press conference on the sixth floor of Nebraska’s West Memorial Stadium Monday, Rhonda Revelle watched two All-Americans, Tatum and Taylor Edwards, sit down in the same chair Revelle sat in and answer many of the same questions from the media. Tatum, the second-team All-America pitcher from Murrieta, Calif., handled every question like her coach – with thought, precision and confidence. Twin sister Taylor, a third-team All-America catcher, went from on-deck to the same chair and knocked every pitch from the media out of the park.
What a pleasure it must have been to watch two girls who wanted to be Huskers when they were in the eighth grade show the maturity of the young women they’ve become under the guidance, leadership and direction of Revelle, a Hall-of-Fame coach in every sense of the description. Revelle has done everything she can to shield herself from extra attention this week. She didn’t want anyone really to dwell on her career record of 799 wins and 423 losses. Even after her Huskers beat UTEP, 7-0 Friday afternoon in Las Cruces, N.M., Nebraska media relations assistant Matt Smith didn’t mention Revelle’s historic 800th career win until the last paragraph of his game story.
Revelle’s Constant Focus is Spelled T-E-A-M
Smith learned long ago that Revelle’s passion and drive are centered on the most important four-letter word in her vocabulary: T-E-A-M. Pat Logsdon, Nebraska’s Senior Woman Administrator, probably put it best when she said: “Rhonda epitomizes the servant-leader model. She always sacrifices her own self-interest for the good of the group. She's an incredible listener, always genuinely interested in others and displays great empathy. She has a strong awareness of what is happening around her and is naturally very persuasive and compelling in her requests. She has great foresight, a strong sense of stewardship and is 100-percent committed to the development and growth of her student-athletes.”
Do not think for one minute, however, that Revelle isn’t as competitive now as she ever was. If you don’t believe me, consider a recent Sunday morning practice when she pulled into the parking lot of the Alex Gordon Training Complex at 6 a.m. Revelle had a smile on her face and a song in her heart until she saw something she wasn’t expecting to see – the car that Nebraska Baseball Coach Darin Erstad drives to work. “When I saw his vehicle already there, I’m like: ‘Dang, he beat me in the office today.’”
Veteran Coach Relishes Erstad’s Preparation
Let the record show that Revelle and Erstad are in sync competitively and philosophically, so much so that Revelle wasn’t about to leave Monday’s interview room after softball was done because, like always, she wanted to soak up whatever Erstad was willing to share with the media after she was done.
“Darin and I have a great relationship,” Revelle told me Monday. “I’ve had him talk to our team. When our players play hard and show an ability to come back, it’s not by accident. One thing that’s stayed true with Darin Erstad, whether it’s college baseball, professional baseball, or coaching, he’s such a planner. He has great preparation.”
The same must be true of Revelle, who continues to be Nebraska’s all-time wins leader in any sport. She has coached 16 All-Americans, 13 Academic All-Americans and ranks 17th nationally among Division I coaches in wins at a current school. She also will continue to search and find every developmental edge and motivational tool that will help her team achieve its ultimate goal – win the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Nice to Be at Different Points in Their Careers
Erstad has become a part of Revelle’s continuous search for excellence. “We’re always stopping to talk to each other,” she said. “The one thing that makes our relationship great is that we’re at different points in our careers. I can ask him questions that he hasn’t probably thought about yet, and he can share his wisdom on what kept him playing so long. Our competitive spirit may show a little differently but it’s there equally for both of us. Our approach is similar.”
Revelle is in an elite group of collegiate coaches. Her teams have won six conference championships and finished among the nation’s top 25-rated teams 14 times. She’s been named Coach of the Year seven times and coached four Olympians, produced three 50-win seasons and qualified for the College World Series three times.
This is the year that she wants to raise the bar for her program, but don’t even think about how that might elevate her own name in the process. She has no interest in that.
Hoping 900, 1,000-Win Milestones on the Road
Yes, The N-Sider made a big deal out of Revelle's 700th win at Nebraska, and today is a good time to ballyhoo her 800th career win because she’s 940 miles away from us. That means she’s too consumed with a heavy-duty weekend schedule that includes playing Florida State twice in Las Cruces. With Revelle’s constant drive and innovation, we all know where her Energy Bus is headed, now and in the future. Whenever this particular Hall-of-Famer reaches her 900th career win and eventually her milestone 1,000th career win, we can only hope one thing…that her team is playing on the road, so the spotlight stays on the only place she wants it to be – her players.
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