New coach dishes out lessons

New softball head coach Sandra Faulkner demonstrates to her team the signs that she will use this season during practice on Thursday in the South PEC Gym. - Paul Kramer

New softball head coach Sandra Faulkner demonstrates to her team the signs that she will use this season during practice on Thursday in the South PEC Gym. - Paul Kramer

As the spring sports season starts up, baby squirrels aren’t the only new faces on campus. This spring, Sandra Faulkner, Grinnell High School’s cross country, varsity men’s basketball, and varsity men’s track coach joins the Grinnell College campus community as the new women’s softball coach.

While she attended Grinnell High School and Central College, in Pella, Iowa Faulkner actively participated in sports such as basketball, softball and track. Faulkner said she believes that coaching is a natural progression from her intense dedication to sports in her earlier life.

“[Coaching] started off with being an athlete, and still wanting to be a part of sports and still wanting to be competitive, and still wanting to be part of the game situation, it’s the next step in after being an athlete,” Faulkner said. “ You’re more likely to be a coach in those athletics you excelled in.”

As a Grinnell native, she finds comfort in returning home and coaching students at both the high school and college level in the sports she once participated in. “I think it has to do with being a hometown kid and coming back and wanting to work at my old high school, and working with some of my old teachers,” Faulkner said. “It’s just been a really neat experience.”

Faulkner’s past coaching experiences ensure that she will push her players hard. “My expectations are very high, my standards are very high,” Faulkner said. “I want them to compete to win and just do the little things right to get to the next level.”

Faulkner’s expectations don’t surprise Brianna Gallo ’11 and Veronica Reavis ’11, who had Faulkner as an assistant softball coach at Grinnell High School. They understand the type of intensity she brings to coaching.

“She hasn’t changed a lot, she just expects more out of us,” Reavis said. “She’s just building on more to our softball skills.”

Faulkner’s intensity can be seen in the daily throwing and hitting drills, when she’ll occasionally hit volleyballs with the softball bats. Even though Faulkner’s difficult drills work the players, she brings a warm personality to the field.

“When she was an assistant coach back at Grinnell high school, she would warm up with us and tell jokes,” Reavis said. “She was always encouraging and supportive of the girls who didn’t go on the field.”

While Faulkner has high expectations of Grinnell women, she believes that they are on the right track, “[The women softball players] have come in and done everything I’ve asked to do,” Faulkner said. “And I think they’re risen to my expectations of how they need to play.”