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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Betsy White-Dean has a new title and a new team. She has been named head coach at Texas A&M-Kingsville, her first head coaching job on the college level. White-Dean played two seasons for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons softball team after transferring from Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Florida. She started her coaching career on the high school level as a head coach in Alabama. Her first job on the college level was at Adelphi University where she coached pitchers and power hitting (she was second on the Lady Bisons in home runs in both of her seasons here). White-Dean then moved on to Seton Hall in 2012, serving as the pitching coach. White-Dean has been moving and making adjustments to a new school, a new team and a new home. She managed to spend some time this week with lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play softball at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played in 2003 and 2004. My coaches were Andy Lane, J.J. Dillingham and Kristin Peck Ryman. Kristin was a graduate assistant. She was a year ahead of me on the team.
"I changed my degree while I was at Lipscomb. My graduation was in December of 2005. I majored in marketing."
Why did you decide to transfer to Lipscomb?
"I was being recruited by Tennessee, UCF and Furman and some other large schools. I was Church of Christ and I wanted an NCAA Division I Christian school. There was like one school - Lipscomb. Amy Becker recruited me.
"My freshman year we won the state tournament in Florida which is a big thing, but we lost the national championship to the team we beat for the state championship. My sophomore year we were second in the state and third in the nation."
You have paid your dues on the way to earning a head coaching job. What was it like to finally get the news this summer that you were going to be a head coach on the college level?
"I started coaching with Paige Smith at Adelphi, a school on Long Island. I also followed her to Seton Hall in the Big East.
"She trained me from day one to be a head coach. I worked on scholarship offers, budgets and played a big part in recruiting. I was able to get athletes from Texas to come to New Jersey which was a big deal.
"I have built up a lot of phenomenal contacts through the years. I was always being asked when I was going to become a head coach. I told them I might be a lifetime assistant because I loved being a pitching coach. But watching Beth Torina at LSU successfully be both a head coach and a pitching coach kind of motivated me.
"My husband wasn't happy living in the Northeast. He likes to be away from congestion. He wanted to live in an open area and you can't get more open than Texas. We live near Corpus Christi. We are 45 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico. It is beautiful down here.
"I came down here at the end of June and fell in love with it. Everyone was really nice and extremely accommodating. It is like you tell recruits, `If you go to a school and get that tingling feeling in your toes and fingers and an adrenalin type of rush then don't bother looking anywhere else'. That was the feeling I had when I went on my interview here."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"I spent the two years at Lipscomb injured. I was a pitcher-designated person. I injured my wrist my junior year trying to learn how to throw a rise ball. I have been a pitching coach for 10 years. I was not made to throw a rise ball. I was a drop ball, curve ball, change-up pitcher.
"My senior year I compressed three disks in my back. I was second in home runs, but I only had half as many at bats as the leading home run person.
"I have a couple of memories. I remember getting the game-winning hit against Auburn.
"I remember going into a game at first base against Alabama on its home field. I made a diving catch in foul territory for an out.
"The program had just joined Division I. We weren't able to participate in postseason play at that point. I love softball. I still wanted to play.
"Also academics were incredibly important to me. I got a top-notch education. I haven't completed my MBA. But I worked on it at Adelphi, one of the top programs in the nation. I had a 4.0 because of how Lipscomb prepared me."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Kristin Peck Ryman. She was a phenomenal two-sport athlete. Sometimes it can be difficult to make the transition from player to G.A. like she did because you have to coach people you have been friends with. Kristin was always very professional.
"She was always level-headed and honest.
"She was always willing to put in extra work. There is no wonder why she is doing so well now as Lipscomb's softball coach.
"I see Kristin at the coaching convention each year. I also keep up with another teammate, Anna Cleland, on a regular basis. They are good people. They were always there for me.
"When you go through an injury there is more than just the pain of the injury to deal with. You have to be mentally tough to get through it. If you don't have the right support system there it can be a tough situation. It helps to have friends.
"I went to a couple of different churches in Nashville, but ended up at Paragon Mills Church of Christ. The people at that church were outstanding. I am still friends with quite a few of them on Facebook. I am from Troy, Alabama and it was like having family away from my family. They were very supportive."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"I would say being at Lipscomb really taught me how to be a good person. You had to have a Bible-oriented class every day. I learned if I treated people right they were going to treat me right.
"I don't know that I can give one specific instance of a memory. I made a lot of good friends there and met a lot of good people. We were taught to have high ethical standards and to leave things better than we found them."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"Making sure as a coach to be unbiased. Making sure you are doing the best you can to make your athletes the best people they can be. You teach them these are the standards and you are going to be held accountable.
"I always want to be transparent with them. Kristin was always real honest with me at Lipscomb.
"Making sure you treat people better than how they deserve to be treated is important. When people tear you down or don't celebrate your successes you have to take the higher road, treat them right and hope for the best.
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Randy Steger, a marketing teacher. He was a really great communicator. He could hold your attention really well. He was really knowledgeable in the field of marketing.
"He taught us attention to detail. Everything in our papers had to be perfect. In public speaking he would try to put us on the spot with improv-type situations and marketing a product without any preparation.
"I have no fear of speaking in front of people, regardless of the size of the crowd because of his class. He worked on our mannerisms. He stressed the importance that if you are in marketing and using your hands to promote a product that your hands need to be in good shape. I use that as a pitching coach in working with how the pitchers use their hands.
"He gave us a coin from a trip he made to Mexico. I still have it. I never had a teacher give us anything like that. It is a memory of the class.
"Dr.Axel Swang was a teacher I wanted to have, but he had retired. I heard so many stories about him. He is one teacher I wish that I had."
Where do you live now?
"We are already living in Kingsville."
Tell us about your family.
"I am married to Christopher Dean. We were married 10/13/13. I told him I wanted to get married on that date and that I needed a groom. That is when he proposed.
"Thirteen is my lucky number. It has always been my favorite number.
"I met him while I was still living on Long Island. I went to visit my best friend and he was there. We were watching a show. He had never seen it. He kept asking questions and interrupting. So I turn to this person I just met and ask him to please be quiet. Apparently, he liked that."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.