This summer, as the academic calendar rolls over to the start of the 2013-14 year, CSUN will talk to its head coaches to see where the Matadors stand in preparation for the new campaign.
Our first subject is CSUN softball head coach Tairia Flowers, who recently completed her third season at the helm of the Matadors. In 2013, Northridge staged a dramatic turnaround from the previous season, posting 15 more wins overall and more than doubling its win total against Big West Conference rivals.
The Matadors posted conference series wins over Pacific, Cal Poly and UC Riverside and the three wins over the Highlanders was Flowers’ first conference series sweep. Northridge also posted dramatic wins over Long Beach State and UCLA, defeating the Bruins 3-2 on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh.
“We saw some good things throughout the year and a lot of individual improvement. Still, we are hungry to take this program to the next level and are already planning for the fall,” Flowers said.
This summer, Flowers will assume her other head coaching responsibilities, taking over as the head coach of the USA Junior National Team. The squad, comprised of young women under the age of 19, will compete in the Junior World Championships starting on July 1. This will be Flowers first head coaching gig at the national level, although the former Olympian and Team USA assistant coach is hardly nervous.
“More than anything, I am excited to get out there. The Junior World Championships is always a competitive tournament and I am excited to see how we compete against some of the best the world has to offer,” Flowers said.
Although she hasn’t met with the team personally yet, Flowers credits the expansion in television exposure of college softball with giving her chances to catch glimpses of her players.
“Getting to see some of the players on television has been exciting. It gives me a brief chance to see what they’re capable of at any moment,” Flowers added.
Before jettisoning to Canada, the team will convene for workouts and scrimmages in Ashland, Ohio and Glenville, West Virginia. Assisting Coach Flowers during the summer will be several familiar faces: Tricia Ford (head coach at Fresno State), Laura Berg (head coach at Oregon State) and Lisa Dodd (head coach at UNLV).
Team USA’s pool includes New Zealand, Canada and Venezuela among others. The opposite side of the bracket features nations such as China, Japan and Australia. Competition begins for Flowers and Team USA on July 1.
Times are certainly busy for Coach Flowers. In addition to her daily schedule, her husband Jason is entering his fourth season as the CSUN women’s basketball head coach and her son Jayce is three now, but still fully immersed in the terrible twos.