SAN DIEGO – San Diego State University’s head softball coach Kathy Van Wyk had no idea her team’s win against Utah State in late April would be more than just a win. It turned out to be her 800th career victory.
Less than a month later, the Mountain West’s all-time winningest coach has decided to retire.
“I don’t call wins and losses against myself,” Van Wyk said. “It’s kind of a convoluted stat to be honest. It’s like, none of us wins by ourselves. It’s not my record. I have an amazing staff. They recruit great ladies who win games.”
More than two decades of coaching at SDSU with countless softball players that have come and went all led to Van Wyk’s career milestone.
So what exactly has allowed Van Wyk to be as successful as she’s been? The Michigan native admits she’s learned to be more compassionate with her players, creating more personal relationships.
“Even though yes, you can have a coach that has a million wins, it’s not necessarily somebody that actually cares about you outside of the game and outside of just their job,” junior softball player Taylor Adams said. “Coach has put a lot of time into us as people and as women, not just what our production is on the field.”
Aside from winning, Van Wyke says her focus is ensuring her players leave school as good people.
“We want to build good citizens,” she said. “We want to help them grow up as individuals and as people so when they go out into the world, softball was just a part of helping to make them stronger and be able to fight out there and have a successful life.”
Just to further prove how seriously Van Wyk takes creating personal relationships, she’s invited her team to her house for Christmas, despite her saying it was a squeeze in a small place, all just to show them a little bit more about how she lives.
From the first time they made the NCAA Tournament, to celebrating career milestones… Van Wyke’s coaching career has been filled with a long list of memories. One she hopes to keep growing.
Van Wyk’s final game will be Saturday when the Aztecs take on Fresno State.