By Bob Vazquez, Assistant Athletics Director, Strategic Communications
Northridge, Calif. – In every phase of a successful life, contributions from friends and family are so important.
Those components piece together a life that even through difficult times, determination and perseverance guide people down the right road.
Lisa Erickson credits much of her success in life to her teammates as a member of the CSUN softball program from 1987-90.
Lessons taught. Lessons learned.
"In 1987, I was a freshman on the NCAA championship team at CSUN," remembers Erickson. "Here I was, a freshman joining an amazing softball program. We had a lot of seniors in 1987 that were great leaders. They paved the way for me to acquire the desire to be as good as possible. They really inspired me to play hard, to never give up."
Lessons taught. Lessons earned.
"If I could go back at anytime of my career, it would be to go back to that time at CSUN," said Erickson. "It was an amazing time in my life. What a wonderful experience. Those seniors were the main contributors on that championship team in 1987. They helped pave my career at CSUN. They were amazing."
For four seasons (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990), those lessons learned from her teammates in 1987 paved the road for an incredible career as an outfielder at Cal State Northridge. In 1987, Erickson played as a designated hitter. In 1988, Erickson played right field. As a junior (1989) and senior (1990), centerfield was her territory.
"I just played hard and was determined to win," said Erickson. "The game was so much fun. Getting on base was so much fun. Someone sacrified me to second or third base, and then I scored. Because there wasn't a focus on my stats, I just played to my potential. Looking back, I couldn't believe I had several .400 seasons in a row. Who does that? … That's awesome."
Twenty-four years after graduating from CSUN in 1990, Erickson still holds a total of eight school career, single season and single game records. Most of those records may never be broken. The records include career batting average (.410), career runs scored (170), career hits (293) and career stolen bases (117). Erickson helped the Matadors to four CCAA conference championships. Post-season honors included being a two-time All-American (1989, 1990) and a two-time league MVP (1989, 1990).
When the eight-member Matador Hall of Fame committee selected the 2014 inductees into the CSUN Hall of Fame, the vote was unanimous.
Lisa Erickson … Welcome to the CSUN Hall of Fame. Congratulations … Well Deserved.
"This is really a dream come true," said Erickson, who lives in Paso Robles. "I lived for four years playing my heart out for the Matadors, the coach (Gary Torgeson) and the team. This is really an honor."
Even after these many years, Erickson distinctly remembers the good times she shared with her teammates at Cal State Northridge.
"When I look back I see those records, I am amazed because all throughout my career, it was never about who had the most about anything," recalls Erickson. "As a team, you were only good as your weakest player. Those stats weren't necessarily posted. I didn't know where I stood on any of those records. I just played hard and was determined to win. I came across my school records about five years ago. My thoughts then were 'holy Toledo. That's really good."
Erickson also gives credit to her coach, the legendary Gary Torgeson, another CSUN Hall of Famer.
"Coach was tough as nails," said Erickson. "He expected greatness. You didn't want to let him down. You played until the last out. His philosophy was … great determination and hard work will take you to the end to win a ball game."
Erickson helped the Matadors (1987-90) to an amazing 226-60 record and three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
After graduating from CSUN, Erickson played several seasons of women's open fastpitch. During that time, she earned a spot on the U.S. National team during their trip to China for the World Challenger Cup in Beijing where the team won gold. Since then, the game of softball is still in the forefront of her life. An eleven-old daughter plays softball, and Erickson coaches in the Paso Robles Girls Softball League. Erickson works with the hitters and outfielders.
"It is really neat to see the girls develop," said Erickson. "I told them I really didn't learn how to hit until I went to college. But here they are, eight-year-old girls learning how to hit. In my day, we didn't have all this information you have today to learn the game."
Erickson added … "It is really great to be able to share my knowledge with them and see them succeed. Last year, our all-star team went to the Nationals in Peoria, Arizona. This was a great experience to have the girls play at this level of softball. It really is neat to pass along my experience to these young girls."
Erickson says she has been writing her speech in preparation for the Hall of Fame induction luncheon on Feb. 9. She admits tears fall when she thinks about all "the good times" she spent as a student-athlete at Cal State Northridge.
"I probably will cry," admits Erickson. "I keep coming back to what the sport has taught me … Perseverance and determination. These are two key words all of us need in life to be successful. You have to be determined and to perservere through difficult times to succeed. That's what coach Torgeson taught me. These are the things I think about … what I learned from the (softball) program and how it has helped me succeed in life."
Hall of Fame Hoopla …
The 2014 Hall of Fame reception at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills is scheduled for Sunday, February 9, at 11:00 am followed by Lunch and the Induction Ceremony at Noon … Tickets are $60 person and $600 table of ten … For more information, contact CSUN Special Events at 818-677-1300 or firstname.lastname@example.org … Hotel reservations at the Warner Center Marriott Woodland Hills (Ca) are available by calling 800-228-9290 … Mention the CSUN Hall of Fame to receive a CSUN special rate of $99 per night … During the Matador Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame induction weekend, CSUN Athletics and the Alumni Association will host an Alumni Fan Day on Saturday, February 8 … The event includes a pre-game reception for Hall of Fame inductees and Lifetime Alumni members before the CSUN men's basketball game against Cal State Fullerton at 5:30 p.m. … The HOF inductees will be honored at mid-court at halftime of the basketball game … Tipoff is 7:00 pm.