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Saint Leo 360 Podcast

Episode 42: Erin Kinberger, Head Coach of the Saint Leo Women’s Softball Team

Posted by Greg Lindberg on August 17, 2021
Episode 42: Erin Kinberger, Head Coach of the Saint Leo Women’s Softball Team

Download Episode 42 Transcript

Speaker 1:
Saint Leo 360, a 360 degree overview Saint Leo University community.

Greg Lindberg:
Hi there, and welcome to another episode of the Saint Leo 360 podcast. This is your host, Greg Lindberg. Here on this episode of the podcast, we are talking softball. And I remember that old song of, "We're talking baseball." I don't know if anyone remembers that, but in this case, we could say we're talking softball. And I'm very pleased to be joined by, Erin Kinberger, who is the head softball coach of our women's softball team here at Saint Leo University. Erin, welcome to the podcast.

Erin Kinberger:
Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to talk softball and Saint Leo, two things I'm super passionate about.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely, yeah. And I know that you're also an alumna of the university, so we can certainly get into that as well. So plenty to get into here. So first off, Erin, just let's talk about your background as far as where you were born, where you grew up and just your early years.

Erin Kinberger:
So I was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. My mom and dad moved to Clearwater, Florida when I was four years old. And I grew up down there and until I got the opportunity to play softball at Saint Leo. And from there, moved to Kansas and then back to Florida.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow. So definitely several different climates, it sounds like you've lived in.

Erin Kinberger:
Yes, very much so.

Greg Lindberg:
Very interesting. And then in terms of softball, talk to me about how you initially got into softball and just your introduction, so the sport.

Erin Kinberger:
I guess it started for me, like it starts for most kids. I started in T-Ball and just kept playing throughout the years and over the years and got into a little bit more of it with Travel Ball. And from there, just fell in love with the game. I guess some interesting background, my grandfather was the baseball coach at Wake Forest for a little over a decade. So growing up prior to moving to Florida, I was at the ball field a lot as a kid watching his team play and going into the locker room. And I'm sure on some level, even though I was quite young, that probably shaped a little bit of my love for the game. And I've been planning my whole life.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow! That's awesome. And you have a very cool background there with your grandfather. And then where did you go to high school?

Erin Kinberger:
I went to Countryside high school.

Greg Lindberg:
Got you. And you did play softball there?

Erin Kinberger:
I did, yes. I played for four years in high school at Countryside. Had the pleasure of being a part of a state championship. I think it was my junior year.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow!

Erin Kinberger:
Yeah, so it was definitely a very great area to grow up playing softball. Countryside was well-known nationally, Countryside literally won the Little League World Series. Back in those days, we had some really good coaches in the area, so definitely a great place to grow up playing the game.

Greg Lindberg:
Right. Very cool. And then in terms of Saint Leo University, thinking back, how did you initially find out about the school and make that decision to attend?

Erin Kinberger:
Well, I think it all came down to coach, Wade. I was out playing Travel Ball, and somewhere along the timeline, she saw me play and contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in coming up for a visit. And I remember I had never heard of Saint Leo prior, but I was really grateful for the opportunity to talk to her and talk about college ball because I knew I wanted to play at the college level. So she invited me up to Saint Leo for a visit. I came up and walked around campus, met with her and I just fell in love with the place. I always tell kids, now being a college coach, that when you go to a college campus, you'll get butterflies in your stomach, you'll get a feeling, you'll know when it's the right place for you.

Erin Kinberger:
And I definitely got those feelings on my recruiting visit at Saint Leo. And I remember my dad pulled out of campus and we started down the hill and back toward home and we got up to the top by the freshmen dorms and I just said, "Hey, can you turn around?" And he's, "Are you sure you don't want to sleep on it? You want to give it some time?" And I was, "Dad, I know. I know this is the place for me." And we turned around, and I walked back in and verbally committed that day.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow! And that must have just been such an amazing feeling, just knowing that this is where I want to spend the next four years.

Erin Kinberger:
Total blessing. Saint Leo has been an awesome place for me as a student athlete and obviously now in my adult coaching career, but it's always had just a special vibe to me. When I drive in through the gates every morning, I'm blessed with this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for Saint Leo.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. Very well said. And I understand you did earn your bachelor's in elementary education from us, correct?

Erin Kinberger:
Yes, sir.

Greg Lindberg:
And just thinking back to that program, talk to me about any memories, any faculty that stood out to you, anything you want to mention with that?

Erin Kinberger:
Well, I think not only was Saint Leo a great fit athletically for me, but it was an excellent fit academically for me. I've always been an average student in school, in high school and middle school and so on. I was just average. And when I got to Saint Leo and I got into the elementary education major, the small class settings and the professors truly knowing who you are and caring about you, that was impactful to me on so many levels. I went from being in high school, a 3.0 student to working really hard and with a lot of help and support from my professors, I ended up graduating with a 3.8. And I think I was magna cum laude and just really thrived academically at Saint Leo. And I definitely give credit to the professors at Saint Leo, the setup and the structure of Saint Leo academics where it's smaller class settings, definitely more individualized, and one-on-one attention was very, very impactful.

Greg Lindberg:
That's awesome. That's great feedback. And I can certainly attest to that being the same case today in terms of just the community and that's always been Saint Leo. So I appreciate that feedback.

Erin Kinberger:
The community is amazing here.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. And then in terms of your playing career, talk to me about your softball career playing for Saint Leo University and any memories that you want to mention from that?

Erin Kinberger:
Man! Probably so many memories, I can talk the entire podcast on that, but no, I had a great experience. I had some really great teammates, enjoyed my time, definitely became a better athlete here. Coach, Wade, taught me a lot about the game, a lot about structure and practice plans and things like that, that I still use in my career today. I think looking back, I tell the girls on my team now, having walked that path, I tell them that, people aren't always going to remember your numbers, or your wins and losses, or your successes on the field as much as they're going to remember how you treated them and what kind of a teammate you were. And I was definitely blessed with some really amazing women. Hayley Judah, was a really great teammate of mine, Ali Flynn, Katie Heintz.

Erin Kinberger:
I mean just a lot of really good people and a lot of girls that are still in my life today. And I think that, that's probably the coolest part about playing college sports, is that you really do have a lot of sisters that are older than you, younger than you. When I came in to Saint Leo, I had two senior leaders that were really awesome and shaped a lot of my personal leadership styles and really brought me in and my class in and made us feel a part of it. Alina Garrel, was a phenomenal player and then, Gina, she was the other senior and still this day, super grateful for them as leaders and nothing, but great memories.

Greg Lindberg:
Nice. Very cool. And then in terms of coaching, talk to me about how you first got interested in coaching and perhaps if you want to mention any mentors, any influences, in terms of other softball coaches that you looked up to, and maybe aspire to be?

Erin Kinberger:
Well, I figured out pretty early in life what direction I wanted to go. And that was definitely into coaching and reaching the college ranks. When I was in college after my freshman year, I had the opportunity to coach a 12 and under team with a girlfriend I had grown up playing the game with, and that summer we coached 12U and I loved it. The kids were hilarious. It was [inaudible 00:10:38] fun to give back to the game. And I got a lot of enjoyment out of that experience. And from there, I was, "I could see myself doing this, this is a calling." So the next summer, I had worked my way up and the organization I was coaching for, happened to be team FLA, a program I had played for as a kid. And the president of the organization, Sherry Allbritton, asked me, "Hey, you want to do 16U?"

Erin Kinberger:
And I was, "Yes, I do. That's awesome." And so I did 16U, the following summer moved up to 18U and then the summer after that, 18 gold and I was hooked, I was all in for coaching. That's how I got introduced to it and how I fell in love with it.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow!

Erin Kinberger:
And I've been dedicated to coaching ever since. I've had so many impactful people, I would hate to forget anyone. But, obviously, coach Wade, the coaches I had played for like I had said earlier.

Greg Lindberg:
Sure.

Erin Kinberger:
I was blessed with some really great coaches as a young kid. And Dr. Faya, who just was the epitome of a great man and a great coach. And I still think of him today and so grateful for what he taught me. And I feel like I take a little piece of all of them with me along the way. And then coach, Wade, was nice enough to let me come out to the NFCA convention when I was a GA, my first year. And I got to listen to the likes of, Patrick Murphy, and Mike Candrea, and all the big names that everybody hears about, but actually being there, and listening to them speak about philosophy and all of that stuff was just... I couldn't write fast enough, I just was like a sponge and loved every second of it. So it's never felt like work for me. I feel super blessed that I don't feel like I really work.

Greg Lindberg:
Right.

Erin Kinberger:
I just get to be around the game and give opportunities to other young women and it's definitely a blessing.

Greg Lindberg:
Nice. That's great to hear. And Hey, if work doesn't feel like work, you know you're doing the right thing. And then as far as your early coaching career after your playing days, talk to me about just some of the early roles you had, and I understand you did a coach at another university there for a few years.

Erin Kinberger:
Yeah. I started off, coach, Wade, kept me on as a GA in 2008 after I graduated and through the recruiting process and being on the road, I met, at the time, a young woman named, Julie LaMere, who was an assistant in the league and we hit it off. We just got to talking about the game and one day, she ended up giving me a call a couple months later and said, "Hey, I got a job in Kansas, I'd like you to be my assistant."

Erin Kinberger:
And at first I declined it. I was, "Okay, thanks, but no, thanks. I'm not moving halfway across the country." And my husband was my boyfriend at the time, and he got back from a surf trip to Costa Rica. And when I picked him up at the airport, we were waiting for a surf board to come around and I said, "Hey, I got a job offer". And he's, "Yeah, where's that?" And I'm, "Kansas". And I was being a smart aleck, and he's, "Really?" And I said, "Yeah." And he's, "Are you going to take it?" And I was, "No, I already declined it. I don't really want to go to Kansas. I don't want to do long distance relationship anymore." And I remember he looked at me and he said, "We should do it."

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah.

Erin Kinberger:
And I was, "Are you kidding?" And he's, "No, let's do it." And that was really though the confidence and the support I really needed to pull the trigger on something like that. And that decision changed the projection of my life and my career. So I went out to Kansas as, Julie LaMere's assistant at Fort Hays State University and had the absolute time of my life.

Erin Kinberger:
I was out there for six years total, three years as Julie's assistant and then, Julie, got a job in the same league in MIAA at another university. And I walked in to, Curtis Hammeke, the athletic director's office, and I told him that I loved Fort Hays and I thought I was ready. And if he thought I was ready, I would love the opportunity to be the head coach there. And I remember he looked at me and he asked me, he's, "Are you sure you're ready?" And I was, "Yes, sir." And he said, "Okay, the job's yours." And I was, "Wow! Okay. That was easy." Maybe not necessarily easy, that was definitely a very exciting moment and for, Curtis, to believe in me and give me my first head coaching job, and that was just such an amazing moment.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow! One of those pinch me type moments where, it's, is this really happening? Right?

Erin Kinberger:
Yeah. And with, Julie, we built a really strong program out there. And then taking over it, we just had some really amazing women, I'm so grateful for them and blessed to still have them in my life, but those women rallied around me and around the program. I think my first year as a head coach, we had 13 girls on roster, which is such a low number and... Yeah, the girls rallied around and we went after it and ended up, I think, finishing the season with 30 wins. And it was just a really great start to the career with some really talented and amazing people. So did that. I was the head coach for three years out there and then, Fran Reidy, gave me a call when the job opened back here and asked me if I wanted to come home. And Saint Leo was my dream job. I had told everybody that from the go, is that my dream was to always come back to Saint Leo and coach.

Greg Lindberg:
Very cool. And then actually getting to come back and getting your dream job, what was that like? How did you feel? Just getting that opportunity, what did that mean to you?

Erin Kinberger:
My gosh! It meant everything to me. The funny thing is I had applied for the job back here when I was 24, 23 and got brought out for the interview and I had my hopes high and I was young, but I was passionate, and Fran Reidy, picks somebody else. And I remember I was crushed. I was absolutely heartbroken. But at the same time, what I love and truly appreciate about that man is, even though he didn't hire me, he was always there for me and told me, "Hey, I would make these changes to your resume and I would keep going for it. And these are the things I look for in a head coach. And you don't have a head coaching experience yet," because at the time when I applied, I didn't. And he said, "Just keep working at it." And I took that information like a sponge and it really set the standard and the bar for me and challenged me at the same time. And so I remember every time I would hit 30 wins, I would think of, Fran Reidy. And then to get that call and be offered to come back.

Greg Lindberg:
Amazing. And let's talk about just softball in general, talk to me about your coaching staff, how you guys work together, your different roles, just what goes on in leading a team of young women?

Erin Kinberger:
I've been super blessed with amazing assistance throughout my career. I think, from Maddie Holub to Kendall Dawson, Sammy Marshall, Pat Affrunti, being with me here for seven years and then adding, Fran Olexa, and Brittany Johnson to the mix. I mean, it's just been a head coach's dream come true when you can get assistance like them. But I think, when it comes to our staff, I'm a really big team person, I think that you are who you surround yourself with. So I really like to try to surround myself with really good people, with good work ethic. I empower them to have their opinions and to challenge me and to challenge the program on how we can make it better every single day, every single year. And I think that, that's probably one of the keys to our success, is those assistants, buying in and having input and being active participants in building this amazing thing called SL-USB. That's been a real blessing.

Greg Lindberg:
Awesome. Very cool. And then just looking back on the past seven seasons here, are there any certain seasons that really stand out? Any players that you want to mention? I'm sure there's just so many stories, so much that goes on, it's probably hard to really pinpoint.

Erin Kinberger:
Yeah. [inaudible 00:20:24] anyone because they really all have been so pivotal in their own individual ways. I mean, I think one of the coolest years was that first year of me coming back, I got the job late in August and so I inherited all of them. And I remember walking through the gate, I can still see it to this day. I can see all the kids in the dugout and here comes their new head coach. And I'm about to meet my entire team of my first year back at my alma mater and I know nothing about any of them. And I remember walking up to the field and I remember thinking to myself, "All right, Erin, it's not their fault that they got a new head coach, and they are now yours."

Erin Kinberger:
And I made it my number one mission to make them all feel like I wanted them, that I was there to help them and to help Saint Leo Softball maintain and grow. And that group of women could have really made my job easy or made my job really tough. With a new coach, some kids would revolve or they wouldn't like change, or, you know what I mean? You run that risk.

Greg Lindberg:
Yeah. Exactly.

Erin Kinberger:
I can honestly say now, some of them admitted later in life that they were terrified. They also all, again, just rallied around me and they really made my first year back in my alma mater memorable. And they were the ones that build the base for us to build on as a program. I'm super grateful for that first year. I think that obviously the 2018 group, the funny thing is, is that statistically, they were not the best team that Saint Leo Softball has ever had in terms of statistics, but they were absolutely one of the best teams that Saint Leo Softball has ever had. That 2018 group, they happened to be freshmen my first year, and they were seniors in 2018. And they took us to a College World Series and placed third.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow!

Erin Kinberger:
And just looking back on that, I think it reminds me as a coach and as a woman, that if you believe in them, they will strive to achieve. And that senior class, really willed us to the College World Series. They didn't hit home runs to get us there, they just had great character, determination and desire. And through that, they took us to a College World Series. And I think that, that's pivotal in my career and in our program, no question, that was a memorable yeah.

Greg Lindberg:
Sure. That's amazing. Definitely, record setting, I would imagine too and in a lot of different ways. In terms of a recruiting, what characteristics do you look for as a head coach in a young woman when you're recruiting players?

Erin Kinberger:
I think there's the initial first three questions I ask myself about each player and that's, do they love softball? Are they selfless? Do they have good character? And are they a hard worker? Because I really feel with those three attributes, we can make them better ballplayers, and we can find a way to win. I've never been a coach that's really all about the statistics, or all about the numbers, I'm definitely one who believes that if you have 20 to 23 women, whatever your roster size is that year, if you have those women pulling in the exact same direction, they love the game, they're selfless, and they're hard workers, we will win. I think winning is a by-product of having good people and doing the little things right day in and day out. And I think that, that is just the base of what I look for when I recruit women to join us. And then from there, the athletic talent and what we can help them reach or strive for, I think, is the easy part.

Greg Lindberg:
Sure. Very interesting. And again, just on the recruiting note, what would you tell a prospective Saint Leo student, a prospective softball player for Saint Leo, what are the benefits of attending this university, of playing in the Sunshine State Conference and why should someone actually come here to play softball?

Erin Kinberger:
I think, one of Saint Leo Softball's best attributes is our team dynamic, our family dynamic. I'm very upfront in the recruiting process with the kids and the families that I am undoubtably, a very tough coach. I'm intense. I think a lot of my players, if you ask them, that's how they would describe me is, I'm very tough, I'm intense, I am demanding of them on and off the field. But I think what really seals the deal and makes it a great place to play their college career is we also love each other and support each other. So I think that's usually what gets kids to want to come to Saint Leo is, they like structure, they like a coach who pushes them and I'm definitely that girl for them, but I also love them genuinely like they're my own. And I think that's what really carries our program and makes us elite, is that fact alone.

Erin Kinberger:
I think the Sunshine State Conference is just an amazing conference to play for. We're in the Sunshine State. We have excellent weather for outdoor sports. All of our conference is located in the state of Florida. So travel is not overbearing by any stretch, but it's a quality conference from top to bottom. Anybody can be anybody on any given day, so the competition is thick. And then I think for Saint Leo, I know women athletics is a huge part of their choice to come to Saint Leo. That is the reality.

Erin Kinberger:
But I also think when they come to Saint Leo, it's a smaller campus with a great community, with a lot of support. And I think they fall in love with that aspect of it too. So I think that Saint Leo has a lot to offer a student athlete from the fields to the classroom, to the coaches, and then just the culture we have within the softball program and the entire athletic department. Sports are crucial at Saint Leo and they're the heartbeat of the university. And I think that, that alone makes it a really special place to play your college careers.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. You summed it up very well. When someone is a student athlete, obviously they have to juggle both academics and athletics. And I'm curious from your standpoint as a coach, what advice do you give your student athletes, in terms of making sure that they do focus on academics, perhaps just as much as athletics?

Erin Kinberger:
Well, I think that comes from the head coach in making sure that they understand that this is the first step into their adult life, and they're officially in control of their own destiny once they get to college. And I try to empower them with that understanding and motivate them to take it seriously and to be great day in and day out at everything that they do. So I think that the balance between academics and athletics is, it's easy to do if you have the support. So I like to try to provide that support. We obviously, help oversee their academics and make sure that they are on track and that they are doing well and that they have the resources they need. And I think that happens through open communication, just like they're going to have, to have in the real world and vice versa.

Erin Kinberger:
So if a kid is struggling in a biology class, it's very common that they're going to walk into the office and say, "Hey, coach, I'm really struggling in bio. What can I do? Can you help me?" And then the first thing we do is pick up the phone and call over to the cave and see if there's tutors, sometimes they have SI events where they can go in the afternoons and sometimes they miss practice to go to those. But again, I think, if you're going to expect them to do well in the classroom, you have to be willing to work with them when their academics need some extra time too. That's probably the key to our academic success in the program, is just the kids communicating when they need help. And we're dedicated to providing that help when they need it. We've done really well academically this last spring, we were the highest performing team in the athletic department with a 3.6 cumulative team GPA. So that's something I'm equally as proud of as wins and losses.

Greg Lindberg:
Wow. Congratulations. That's awesome.

Erin Kinberger:
Thanks. I can't take credit for it though, it's the kids that do the work.

Greg Lindberg:
True. But, I mean, just what you were saying before, I think it's definitely an example that you're obviously a softball coach, but I think you mean so much more to these young women in terms of just guiding them, whether it is academically, or I would imagine just even in their personal lives, any challenges they're dealing with. And I think that's so important to emphasize just the role of a head coach is so multifaceted.

Erin Kinberger:
Right. I really appreciate that. I know all the coaches in the athletic department appreciate when people know or have an understanding that we don't just go out at three o'clock, roll the balls out and put them through a practice. I mean, we are their lifeline, like you said, in their personal lives.

Greg Lindberg:
[crosstalk 00:30:59] Absolutely.

Erin Kinberger:
We're standing parents, we're academic advisors, we're there when the wheels fall off in their personal lives and try to help get them the help that they need, or if it's just an ear to listen to, or if it's just some basic, "Hey, I've been there and this is my advice." It's a lot more than just softball. I would say softball is a smaller fraction of coaching than everything else.

Greg Lindberg:
No question.

Erin Kinberger:
But it's really, I think, why coaches coach and I think people don't understand that we coach because we look to make an impact in their life.

Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. Yeah. And speaking of, challenges, different things, adversity, I did want to ask you about the COVID-19 pandemic and obviously so many college athletes across the country were impacted, have been impacted, perhaps they're still being impacted by the pandemic, having lost games, having lost opportunities. And I was just curious if you could speak about how the pandemic has affected your team and perhaps, maybe what your student athletes have learned, having gone through all this?

Erin Kinberger:
Yeah. That's a tough thing to talk about, simply because I've watched the pandemic end careers and that was extremely tough. And trying to operate within the pandemic was obviously challenging to everyone. But especially our athletes, I think that you have to maybe be an athlete or be athletically minded or understand the joy that sports brings to their lives. And I watched a lot of women and men really struggle with that, that love and that piece of their heart go missing. And that was due to the pandemic and losing games, or like I said, in 2019 or 20, whenever it was that the season got canceled early. And I think that the biggest thing that we try to get our women to understand is, it's an uncontrollable, these things in life are going to happen.

Erin Kinberger:
And that's why we have to live each and every day grateful that we get this opportunity physically, mentally, financially, we have the opportunity to play the game we love. And sadly for women, the pro league or opportunities after college are really minimal. And college is their biggest platform and their biggest stage to play a game that they've been playing since they were four years old. So what I am grateful for is that, Saint Leo and Presidents Senese and the ICT team, all the hard work and effort they put into letting our women and our men play this past spring, and jumping through all the hoops of fire to make that happen. I don't think that they really understand how much that means to the kids, to the coaches, to their families.

Erin Kinberger:
And I try to put it in perspective for someone on campus that didn't play sports and really was having a hard time understanding why it was so important. And I said, "Well, it's like anything in life, if you love to read books, it would be like the library being closed and no books allowed. That's how we feel about sport. We wake up and that's our purpose. That's what we love to do. That's the gift God blessed us with and what motivates us and drives us is the ability to compete within our sports."

Erin Kinberger:
So it was definitely impactful. And now I think we just have to rebuild on top of the pandemic, and I hope that what that does and what that rebuild looks like is we don't take days for granted. We don't take practices for granted, and maybe we don't even take injuries for granted, because we're blessed to be in the game and be in the sport and working for it and have the opportunity to play. So the pandemic was rough. I am truly excited about greener days. From there, I think that we will definitely view the future with more gratitude and such, because we had it taken away.

Greg Lindberg:
Definitely. It really has put so much in perspective for all of us. That's great insight there. One final question here, in terms of professional opportunities, what's the current landscape for being able to play softball professionally? If a student is so passionate about the game, in terms of coaching, how would you describe professional opportunities that are available out there?

Erin Kinberger:
The professional opportunities within the sport of softball, they're pretty minimal for women. We do have the NPF. I think the league is trying to figure out what route it's going to go and what structure it's going to fall under. We obviously have softball back in the Olympics, which is a great thing for the sport. But I think the reality is, like we said earlier is, college softball for 99% of women is the biggest platform in stage they get the opportunity to play on. So I think those who are truly passionate about the sport and can't imagine their lives without it, like myself and my assistants, I think it's going into coaching. I think it's using that passion to drive your purpose. And like I said, I think coaching is the best gig on earth. I really do.

Erin Kinberger:
And I love to see women get into it because women are invincible and they're strong, they're tough, and we know what we're capable of doing. And I love to see them get into coaching. I'm a big proponent in it. So going into a grad position, earning your masters, and then from there, the sky's the limit on what they want to do with that career. For me, I'm a product of division two. I love what division two offers to the student athlete and to the coach. So for me, I'm very passionate about the division two level, but there's opportunities, obviously, to continue on, if you want to go into the D-I world and work your way up and one day be one of the coaches in the College World Series, I think that, again, the sky's the limit for anyone who truly loves the game, is willing to do the work, and go about it in the right way.

Greg Lindberg:
Sure thing. Absolutely. And I can certainly sense the passion in your voice for coaching and how much it's just meant to you in your life.

Erin Kinberger:
Thank you.

Greg Lindberg:
I think you're a perfect example and product of that. All right. Again, we've been visiting with, Erin Kinberger, who is the head women's softball coach here at Saint Leo University. And coach, Kinberger, I just wants to thank you so much for your time, for your insight, for your perspective. And thanks so much for joining us here on the Saint Leo 360 podcast.

Erin Kinberger:
Greg, thank you so much. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about the program and about Saint Leo and, go Lions!.
Greg Lindberg:
Absolutely. Go Lions!

Speaker 1:
To hear more episodes of the Saint Leo 360 podcast, visit, saintleo.edu/podcast. To learn more about Saint Leo's programs and services, call 877-622-2009, or visit saintleo.edu.

Episode Summary

In this episode of the Saint Leo 360 podcast, we visit with Erin Kinberger, the head women’s softball coach at Saint Leo University and a 2007 alumna of the university. Kinberger, a Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, talked about:

  • Her early years and getting into playing sports as a youth
  • Attending Saint Leo and her bachelor’s in elementary education program
  • Her college softball playing career
  • When and how she got into coaching softball
  • Her early coaching career and coming back to coach at her alma mater
  • Memorable seasons coaching at Saint Leo
  • The characteristics she looks for when recruiting student-athletes to play softball
  • The benefits of attending Saint Leo University and playing sports in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC)
  • How student-athletes can effectively balance athletics and academics
  • Professional opportunities for talented college softball players

Links & Resources

Learn more about Coach Kinberger on her athletics bio page.

Learn more about the Saint Leo Lions athletic programs and the softball team on the Saint Leo Athletics website.

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