Starting with the 2019-20 softball season, Tuckahoe Sports (TSI) is rolling out the new Mid-Atlantic Orioles softball brand for its 14U and 16U College Development softball teams. The entire softball program will be led by new Director of Softball Operations Michele Hawkins McHenry.
Age-specific tryouts for Lady Titans and Mid-Atlantic Orioles Softball teams will be held on Sat 7/27 and Sun 7/28. Softball players who are unable to attend a tryout this weekend can also attend an open tryout on the evening of Tue 7/30.
Last month, Michele conducted Meet and Greet sessions with parents of current Lady Titans and with parents of other prospective softball players for the 2019-20 season. Here is a summary of the conversations.
Q&A with Michele Hawkins McHenry
Q: What is your softball background?
A: For the past two seasons, I was the pitching coach for Towson University. Prior to Towson, I was a pitching coach for Penn State University. In total, I have 17 years of collegiate coaching experience and several years of international coaching experience. I’ve also coached pitching at Michigan State and Northwestern, and I was the Head Coach at the University of Chicago from 1997-2000. I’ve also worked through the International Softball Federation with the National Teams of Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Italy, and Slovakia.
As a player, I was a pitcher for Northwestern University and I played professionally in Europe and in the United States.
(For more background info, please see Michele Hawkins McHenry’s Bio).
Q: Are you coaching one of the TSI softball teams this upcoming season?
Q: What is your goal for that team?
A: My goal is for the team to be good enough to be invited to the Boulder Independence Day Tournament (IDT) in Colorado. That’s when you know you have arrived. PGF and Triple Crown Fastpitch tournaments are also on my long-term radar. Boulder may take a few years, but that’s what we are working toward.
Q: What is your overall goal for the TSI softball program?
A: My goal as Director of Softball Operations is to put systems in place for all of our softball teams to be the best at each level.
Q: Why do you feel Tuckahoe Sports is the right fit for softball families?
A: Two main reasons: 1. Professional coaches who are committed to player development. 2. An amazing indoor training facility (like nothing I’ve seen on the east coast).
Q: How long are you sticking around?
A: I’m here for an indefinite amount of time. No plans to leave. My wife is in a new executive retail role in this area. The average career duration for her role is 8 years.
Q: What will the roster size be for the softball teams?
A: My intention is to have teams with 13 players on a roster so there is competition at all positions for tournament playing time.
Q: How much travel will there be?
A: It depends on the experience level of the players on each team, but I feel all teams should start and succeed locally first.
Q: Will teams be grouped by age?
A: TSI softball team rosters will be determined by talent level first, then by age. If a player is good enough to play up, she will have an opportunity to do so.
Q: What are your thoughts on team camps at colleges?
A: Team college camps are becoming a popular offering. Typically 4 travel ball teams attend for instruction and round-robin play – at the 14U level and up. If there’s interest by my players, it is something I am prepared to pursue.
Q: Is there anything else we should know about you as a former player?
A: I was a power rise ball pitcher at Northwestern University and in the pros. I could pitch it over 70 MPH.
Q: Is there anything else we should know about you as a person?
A: I tend to make heart decisions over financial decisions in my life. I have good investigative skills, and I value structure and accountability. Oh, and I have a tattoo on my arm to cover a football injury (yes, I played semi-pro football).