A two-time NAIA All-American and a four-time All-Conference pitcher, she led Lipscomb Softball to an incredible 181 wins in her four years. She is Lipscomb’s career ERA leader (1.03), career wins leader (116), and ranks second in strikeouts (1,015). Erin Hall Fletcher now balances her roles as wife, mother, and home health nurse. Before her induction this weekend into Lipscomb Athletics’ Hall of Fame, she sat down for a few minutes with Lipscombsports.com.
What years did you compete for Lipscomb?
I played three years for Coach Andy Lane from the Fall of 1996, when I came to Lipscomb, until he stepped down. I also played for J.J. Dillingham, Andy Mankin, Jeff Spivey and Sherri Wright before I graduated in December 2000.
Tell us about your education:
From Lipscomb, I earned my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Biology and an M.B.A. in Healthcare Administration and Leadership. I also earned a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Belmont.
Why did you attend Lipscomb?
My parents both went to Lipscomb, and although they never forced me, it seemed understood and accepted that I would there go to college too. We were living in Bremerton, Washington, so it certainly wasn’t close. But my brother (Nathan) was a Lipscomb student who was three years ahead of me in school, and my grandparents lived in Chattanooga, so I was open to going to school in the South. When I found out Lipscomb had a softball program, it sounded good to me. My brother spoke with Andy Lane to see if Lipscomb needed a pitcher, and it just worked out. I still have letters from softball programs that I haven’t opened yet because I just knew Lipscomb was where I wanted to go. On Spring Break of my high school senior year I got to visit campus, meet the team, and see the locker room and some games. I just fell in love with it. A part of that was connecting with the history my parents had enjoyed at Lipscomb – it just felt very right, and as it turns out, it was.
What is your favorite athletic memory at Lipscomb?
I have lots of great memories, especially being part of good teams and winning a lot of games. But honestly, my most fond memories are those non-game times with my teammates – on the road, in the locker room, hanging out together, on road trips. The first real beach I ever visited was because of a softball trip to Pensacola, and my first visits to Hawaii were thanks to Lipscomb Softball – one as a player and one as a graduate assistant. Those were things I enjoyed as a student that I will always remember – the friendships, the relationships. I had a lot of fun.
This may seem odd, but while I remember the games we won and the successes we enjoyed, my strongest memories are our failures – or what I perceive to have been failures. I guess it’s because I absolutely hated it. When we lost or when I failed, it hurt. I despised it, and that stuck with me. I believe that’s what drives people who succeed. Even more than they love the thrill of winning, they despise the agony of losing – and that drives them. We failed to make the National Championship my senior year, and that was devastating. Those memories are still painful to me.
But the truth is, I have plenty of awesome memories with the team and the fun, exciting times we had together. I was so blessed being able to play at Lipscomb and meeting some really amazing people.
Who influenced your athletic career at Lipscomb?
Coach Lane, no doubt. He is the one who brought me in. I was the ‘girl from the West Coast’ and not a Southerner, and it was no secret we did not always see eye-to-eye on things. Plus I’ll tell you straight up, I was a little brat. There were a lot of things I had to learn and to conform to, and he stuck with me. We didn’t always get along and he was tough on me, but I have developed a lot of appreciation for him and I owe a lot to him.
When you find a coach who has the guts to tell you “you’re not right” and “you’re not doing this well enough,” who continues to push you to make you the best you can be and to get the most out of your talents – that is a coach who cares. That’s a coach who cares more about you than he cares about what you think of him, and that’s the best thing you can ask from a coach. I give Coach Lane credit for not only making me a better softball player, but for making me a better person.
What did you learn in your time at Lipscomb?
I feel like I walked away knowing a whole lot more than when I arrived on campus, and that education has continued through today. I’m still learning.
I feel strongly that many of life’s best lessons are learned in competition, and in my case that was the softball field. Playing softball at Lipscomb reinforced plenty of life lessons for me: the value of teamwork, being able to work with and get along with other people, being able to see a bigger picture than just myself, realizing there are people around who are depending and relying on me – people who I really want to work hard for. Those are lessons I apply to my life every day.
And finally, my husband (Wynn) told me one day – and I’ll never forget this – he said Athletics is one of the last frontiers where your achievements, your ability to play and succeed, are directly related to the heart, time, and effort you invest. We see so many around us who feel they are entitled to reward or deserving of position or accomplishment. In Athletics, you are forced to earn your reward. You can’t put someone on a ballfield and expect success if they don’t work for it. It will be painfully obvious at some point that a person isn’t achieving because he doesn’t work. Athletics teaches us a good life lesson that we won’t be given anything – to earn respect, praise, reward, accomplishment we must invest in the work. Success is directly related to the work we invest.
What is your favorite non-athletic memory at Lipscomb?
I have one very special one that tops all my other non-athletic memories. I met my awesome husband at Lipscomb, and when the time arrived for him to propose, we became engaged in exactly the same spot on campus that his dad had asked his mom to be his wife a generation earlier. It was a meaningful experience, and on December 14 this year we will celebrate our 15th anniversary.
Who was your favorite professor?
One of my favorites at Lipscomb was Coach (Lynn) Griffith. He was a lot of fun, very kind, and one who was very caring about his students’ success. He always seemed interested in what his students were doing, and I always enjoyed being in his classes.
What do you do now?
For the past 2-3 years I’ve worked as a home health nurse, which means I’m on the road and on the phone a lot with patients, doctors and nurses. In my career I’ve worked in practically all areas of nursing, and I really enjoy home health.
Tell us about your family:
My husband, Wynn, and I live in Alexander City, Alabama with three children. Tripp will be twelve in December, Wyatt will be eight in December, and our little girl, Lena, turned three in July.
Wynn (who coached baseball at Lipscomb from 2000-06) came to Alabama to coach at Central Alabama Community College, and in 2013 they won the National Championship – the only college in the state of Alabama to ever win a baseball World Series. It was a great accomplishment, and I’m so proud of him. These days he is the admissions director for Lyman Ward Military Academy, and he absolutely loves it. He is a firm believer that all the experiences he has been through prepared him for this job, and he feels very fulfilled working with these very special young people.
- Favorite food: Mexican
- Favorite scripture: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 5-7)
- Favorite TV show or movie: “Saving Private Ryan”
- Favorite sports team: Any team my children are on
- Pet peeve: People who feel entitled
- Favorite season: Fall
- Are you a salad or dessert person? dessert
- Dream vacation spot: Any spot I’m on vacation
- Early morning or late night person? Unfortunately, both
You can reach Erin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook: Erin Hall Fletcher.