By Ezra Gennello, staff writer.
Coming to a new place can be scary, nerve racking, and even hard, but for head coach Andrew Klaus of the softball team at Franklin Pierce University, his first year has been nothing short of warm and open. Klaus is the 12th head coach in program history, and took over after Hannah Griffin resigned after two seasons of leading the Ravens.
Franklin Pierce is the first stop on Klaus’ head coaching tour at the collegiate level. Coming from an assistant coaching position with the Division I Norfolk State University, Klaus said his decision to come to Franklin Pierce was an easy one. Klaus cites the Ravens’ Director of Athletics, Rachel Burleson as the leading reason behind his choice. “Having coached with our Athletic Director, Rachel Burleson, over eight years ago, I know first-hand that we are under great leadership. Her knowledge, work-ethic, and vision for the athletic program and student-athlete experience are exactly what is needed for greatness.” As for it being his first year at the head coaching position, Klaus says he is excited and the support he has gotten from the administration and his colleagues has been overwhelming, and he couldn’t imagine a better atmosphere to be a part of.
Before starting with Franklin Pierce, Klaus spent six years as an assistant coach at the NCAA level with four different institutions. With those six years of coaching experience in his back pocket, Klaus is looking to bring some of the things he learned along the way to Rindge. When asked about incorporating strategies, techniques, and other assets, Klaus said, “I hope to bring everything that I’ve learned in my six years as an assistant, while still maintaining a growth mindset, to find better and more efficient ways to teach.”
When a new coach comes into the position they aren’t the only ones affected by the change. For the players it seems to be a positive one. Junior pitcher Amelia Mamone is happy, saying, “Coach Klaus was a great addition to our team and we’re all extremely thankful that we have a fresh start this year and that he chose us to make us not only succeed on the field but off the field as well.” Academics is a priority for Klaus as well, and he says he is comfortable with the balance between academics and athletics at the Division II level.
The softball team had many ups and downs, with seasons ranging from as low as one win to as high as 15 over the previous five seasons, but that doesn’t faze Klaus, as he looks to make a difference this year. While winning is the main goal, Klaus’ focus is on the future, saying, “We expect to build this program the correct way, through respect, dedication, trust and accountability.”
On and off the field the Ravens are looking to have success. Whether it is in the classroom or in the community volunteering, Klaus is looking for his team to be full of leaders who represent themselves, the team, and Franklin Pierce in a good manner.
Confidence is key, and for Klaus that is no problem. With this team and the tools available to him at Franklin Pierce, Klaus feels that his team has what it takes to be successful, and believes in his goal to win a Northeast-10 Conference title within the near future.