Coaches Corner – Tricia Alderson
Sunday, April 23, 2017 | 6:23 PM
In this feature titled “Coach’s Corner”, I will be interviewing a different coach every week and asking them questions about their personal life and about coaching. Hopefully their answers will not only shed some light on how they coach their respective teams, but also allow readers to get to know the men behind the fields/courts.
This week features head softball coach Tricia Alderson of Chartiers-Houston high school. She is now in her 14th season coaching at her alma mater. She won back to back WPIAL titles as a player in 1987-1988, and has won 3 in a row as head coach of the Bucs from 2005-2007, as well as back to back again from 2011-2012. The Bucs, guided by Coach Alderson, finally won PIAA State gold in 2010 after falling in the championship game in 4 previous appearances. Let’s take a look inside Coach Alderson’s corner:
1. What are some of your pet peeves?
One of my pet peeves is when people overuse hashtags on social media. Hashtags are great, don’t get me wrong, but it just drives me crazy when people go overboard with them.
2. What was your favorite TV show growing up?
I had a lot of favorite shows growing up, but I probably liked Growing Pains and Full House the best as a kid. However, my all-time favorite show still to this day is Friends. I have every season on DVD and will watch the repeats on Nick all the time.
3. Who is your favorite sports player and why?
I have so many favorite sports stars, so it is hard to name just one. My favorite former MLB player was Tom Glavine from the Atlanta Braves. I just thought he was the best pitcher, and I also had the biggest crush on him. I got his autograph several dozen times (at least)! I also always liked Troy Polamalu. He was so talented but always humble and respectful. I like those qualities in people, especially athletes.
4. What is your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is from the movie A League of Their Own. Jimmy Dugan says, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”
5. What do you usually do during the offseason?
Is there ever really an offseason??? Haha! Honestly, if I am not coaching, I am attending other sports events or watching sports on TV with my family. We spend a lot of time together through sports. In the summer, I also like to just hang out at our pool and try to relax with the family.
6. Describe your dream vacation.
My dream vacation is to be anywhere on a beach with someone cooking for me! I would also love to attend the NCAA Women’s College World Series someday.
7. What is the most important thing you try to preach to your players every year?
There are so many things we tell our players every season. One thing we stress is that you can basically control two things: your attitude and your effort. If you can have a positive attitude and give your best effort, it will carry you far not only in softball, but in life. We also preach to them about upholding our rich softball tradition here at C-H by working hard to get better every day.
8. Describe a few of your many superstitions.
I have so many superstitions that it would take a really long time to list them. A few that I will mention are using certain pens for my pitching charts, wearing the same clothes for games, not tying my coaching shoes, and eating the same things for lunch on game days. Trust me, this is just a very small sampling of my superstitions!
9. What is your proudest moment as a high school softball coach?
I have always been proud of my teams, but winning the state title in 2010 is one of my proudest moments. I felt like we were playing for all of the players before us who had gone to the finals and had come up short. That state title was the first for the school in any female sport, and we finally had broken the curse of losing in the finals. It made me really proud to represent our school and the program.
10. Compare the feeling of winning back to back WPIAL titles with Chartiers-Houston as a player in 1987-1988, to the feeling of winning 3 titles in a row as head coach of the Bucs from 2005-2007.
When I played and we won WPIAL’s, it was all new because the team had never gone that far before. It was amazing to be a part of starting such a winning tradition at the school for softball and something I will never ever forget. Since becoming a head coach, my goal has always been to continue the rich tradition we had built back when I played and to have my players experience that same feeling of winning WPIAL gold. I would have to say that winning titles as a coach is much harder because you aren’t really in control, but it has also been more satisfying. We have been very fortunate to have made the finals 8 out of the last 12 seasons. As much as I loved winning as a player, I love it even more when I can hang a medal around the girls’ necks. It’s an unbelievable feeling to watch it all come together and to see them so happy when their hard work has paid off.
11. What was your most embarrassing moment as a high school softball coach?
My most embarrassing moment as a high school softball coach would have to be when I first started as a head coach at Mt. Lebanon. All coaches then were required to wear the same uniform as the players. When I went out for the ground rules for my first game, the umpires thought I was a player and kept asking where the head coach was. Also, during those first several years, I was repeatedly asked to put on a helmet when coaching a base because they thought I was a player. I would love for that to happen now, haha, but it was quite embarrassing back then!
12. In 2010, the Bucs finally captured PIAA state gold after losing in the championship game 4 times in previous years. What made that state title year in 2010 so special?
Winning states was so special because that team was not the most talented team I have ever coached, but it was the best “team” I have ever coached. The girls were so focused and no one cared who received credit for anything; they just wanted to keep playing together. A different player stepped up in every game. The biggest reason that state title is so special to me personally is because my dad was very sick with cancer during the entire season. One of the only things that kept him going was watching the team play and win. I honestly believe that was what kept him alive for his last few months. When he was in a lot of pain during his last month with us, the only thing that would make him happy and relax was to watch the replay of the state title game on DVD over and over and over again. He was really proud of the team and me, and I will never forget that.
13. How did you decide you wanted to coach softball?
When I was a junior in high school, we lost the state championship game. We did not make it back the following year. I knew the only way I could get back to that game was to coach. That loss really motivated me to try to become the best coach I could be. I have also loved the sport and competition my whole life. I did play locally after college in a fast pitch league until I was 27. I didn’t want to give up the game, so I was also able to stay involved with softball through coaching.
14. After coaching for 8 years at Mount Lebanon, what was it like to get hired by your alma mater?
It was a great feeling being hired by my alma mater. Anyone who knows me knows that C-H Softball is very important to me. To be able to coach in such a successful program is amazing.
15. Your husband Dan, former baseball coach at Chartiers-Houston, is now one of your assistants, and your daughter Kaci is a freshman there. How important has your family been throughout your coaching career?
Wow, where do I begin with answering this one? My family is everything to me. It is very hard to be a coach at any level in any sport, and you cannot do it without total family support from my husband, my children, my mom, and my siblings. My daughters have lived their whole lives with us both coaching, and it’s not always easy on them. Dan gave up his own head coaching position for the girls and me. I really can’t even put into words how important my family is. I just want Dan and the girls to be proud of me because I am so proud of them every day, softball aside.