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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 16, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Apr00

Summarized by Jennifer Livingston

Cougs Competitive in First Year of Softball Play
Salt Lake Tribune 16Apr00 S3
By Patrick Kinahan: Salt Lake Tribune

PROVO, UTAH -- Mary Kay Amicone joined Brigham Young University as head coach of the first-year softball program in May of 1999, just three months after BYU president Merrill J. Bateman announced plans to organize a Division I softball team. 18 of the 20 team members were selected sight-unseen by Amicone, who successfully met the challenges of recruiting for a new program by researching junior college transfer students. Amicone spoke with junior college coaches and trusted they were giving accurate details concerning their players.

"I had to trust they were giving me the straight scoop," said Coach Amicone.

The team is comprised of eleven juniors, eight freshmen, and one sophomore. Of last year's club team, only one player, Emily Fernly, made the cut for the new team. Pitching talents of Rick's College transfer students Maryon Dewitt and Meghann Pricer are BYU's real strength.

Rival Utah is currently 27-19, 7-3 in the Mountain West Conference, while BYU is 10-19, 2-8. Utah swept BYU in a doubleheader last Saturday, winning 3-1 and 7-5 in nine innings, but the narrow score margins suggest the two teams may have been more equally matched than those statistics indicate.

"From where I was a year ago, it's amazing how quickly things have come around," commented Amicone.

BYU's church affiliation will likely aid in future recruiting. For some time, parents of LDS players have petitioned BYU to establish a stronger softball program. Utah coach Mona Stevens acknowledged that advantage when she commented of BYU, "Other places have to establish a winning tradition before maybe they can entice one or two blue-chip recruits. There are a lot of kids who come to their doorstep."

Stevens and Amicone worked together in the past -- Amicone as Steven's assistant. In addition, Amicone's husband Marc is Utah's assistant athletic director. When asked about Amicone's Ute roots, Stevens commented, "She may be a lifelong Ute, but she is a competitive person. Right out of the chute, there's going to be rivalry."


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