SAINT LEO, Fla. – Statistics measure the numbers in the game, and can help track the growth of a team or individual, but they don’t always give the full story.
For Saint Leo softball assistant coach Maddie Holub, statistics served as a prime source of measurement highlighting the growth she helped engineer within the pitching staff. For this growth, the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) named Holub the Division II Assistant Coach of the Year.??
“To say I have the Assistant Coach of the Year in all of Division II is by far one of the proudest moments of my career,” head coach Erin Kinberger boasted of her assistant. “Earning this award proves that we, Saint Leo University, have one of the very best working with our student-athletes day in and day out. I've watched Maddie have amazing successes on the mound as a player, and now I have the privilege of watching her have great achievements as a coach. I'm beyond excited and proud of her, I'm also grateful for the NFCA, who selected her for the award.”
In her first season as assistant coach at Saint Leo, Holub transformed the Saint Leo pitching staff into one of the best in Division II. She inherited a program that in 2014 pitched just 3 shutouts. One year later, with two of the returning staff, and the addition of a freshman, the group turned in a Saint Leo program record 18 season shutouts, including seven consecutive shutouts to conclude the regular season. The Lions 1.23 team ERA ranked second in Division II and the squad’s highest individual ERA was a 1.53. Coach Holub’s rotation has pitched 50-straight scoreless innings to finish the 2015 regular season and opponents hit a meager .176 Batting Average.
But statistics don’t tell the whole story.
“Maddie is a very talented and knowledgeable coach,” Kinberger commented, “but in addition to her knowledge, she adapts and dedicates time to understanding each pitcher. She gets to know their individual needs, their mentality, their strengths & weaknesses, and what drives them. Her dedication to them as a person, ball player, and pitcher is the difference-maker in her bullpen and maximizing her pitchers' talents.”
The effect a coach can have on her players mentally and emotionally adds a far bigger impact upon a student-athlete.
Ashley Ehlers, who graduated from Saint Leo in May 2015, had the opportunity to learn under Holub for one year, but the Dunedin, Fla., native, beamed with gratitude as she reflected upon the impact Holub made in that short time.
“Don't even get me started! In fact, I don't even know where to start,” Ehlers expressed when asked how Holub impacted her off the field. “Coach Holub taught me how to have grit, how to deal with adversity, and how to be a leader for our pitching staff. She taught me that being the best was in arms reach and that I could go for it. She taught me how to be fearless on the mound. I have learned the trade of integrity, how to deal with adversity, and how to be the best person possible from the teachings she not only taught me as a pitcher, but also as a then ‘soon-to-be college graduate’ as well. I still have grit, I'm still competitive, and I still love the game- even though I had to put my glove down in May.”?
“Coach Maddie, along with Kendall and Coach ‘K’, made my senior year the best year I could have ever imagined. Since graduation, Maddie and I have become great friends, which I will forever cherish. She is one of the greatest people on and off the field and is one person I will mention to my future children when I look back years and years from now. Now as I coach at Brandon High School, I am so excited to help the pitchers that I will have do the things that Maddie taught me. I will forever cherish the coaching staff at Leo.”
Holub’s impact was felt by her other pitchers too.
Statistically, Alana Tabel’s numbers speak for themselves. In her junior season, the 6-foot-2 Loxahatchee, Fla., native led the NCAA DII in 2015 with an ERA mark of 0.94, and she held a 16-5 record. She pitched 17 complete games, and added five shutouts. These numbers mark a tremendous turn-around, as Tabel’s ERA as a sophomore was 3.4, with a 5-8 record.
“Before Coach Holub stepped foot into this program, I was a good pitcher but I was never pushed to be more than just good,” Tabel said. “Coach Holub has pushed all the potential out of me and she continues to do so day in and day out. The greatest I have ever been was this past year when I came in first place for having the best ERA in the whole nation, but she knows that it is still not all I can accomplish. She pushes me every single day to get me to be better than I was the day before.”
Tabel felt Holub’s influence off the field as well.
“Coach Holub impacted me off the field by making her an easy person to come to. No matter what the situation is- it can be softball related or something completely different- I always know I can just walk into the office and talk to her about whatever is on my mind. That goes with the entire coaching staff as well. They are all very approachable and they do their jobs as being coaches for our softball team, but they are also our family while we are all away from our families.”
“As a person, Coach Holub has made me feel a lot more confident than I have ever been in my life,” Tabel said in praise. “In my past I have been told I am not good enough for many different reasons, but she sees me for who I am and pushes it out of me to be a great player and person at the same time. I have never walked with my head held as high as I do today nor have I ever felt so comfortable in my own skin and body. I contribute that confidence to Coach Holub as well as the rest of the coaching staff.”
Samantha Tyler, sophomore from Tampa, Fla., flourished under Holub’s tutelage in her freshman campaign. The righty tallied a 9-2 record on the mound, pitching seven complete games and adding three shutouts.
“Coach Holub's best trait as a coach is that she treats us the way she would want to be treated as a player,” Tyler reflected. “She is just an all-around great coach. She isn't afraid to be tough on you but she will always help when you need her. She has achieved so many things in her softball career and I want to do the same. Having Coach ‘H’ as my pitching coach makes me a better pitcher and a better person.”
For the newly named NFCA DII Assistant Coach of the Year, individual successes are never what you hang your hat upon, but for Holub, and the entire Saint Leo softball program, this award is just the beginning.
“I believe Maddie, and all my assistants, play an intricate role in our success,” Kinberger remarked. “Maddie truly pulled out all stops, dove head first, giving everything she had to the team and myself. I'm truly grateful for her as a colleague and friend. She's earned this award and I'm so happy for her, Saint Leo, and I’m happy to say I have the Assistant of the Year as my right-hand gal.”