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."