FULLERTON, Calif. – With the Titan Softball program set to host their annual alumni slow-pitch game and the Leadoff Social dinner on Saturday, January 27th, we take a look at some of our former Titans who are now giving back to the sport of softball.
This week we focus on Jodie Cox and Deb Hartwig.
Jodie Cox will be entering her second season as the Assistant Coach at Fresno State University. Cox began her full-time coaching career at Syracuse as an Assistant Coach in 2005. Since then, she has been an Assistant Coach at CSUN (two seasons), the Head Coach at Occidental College (five seasons), the Assistant Coach at UCR (three seasons), and the Associate Head Coach at UCR (one season).
"I love everything about coaching," said Cox. "I have been a student of the game my entire life and I love having the opportunity to give back. I was blessed to have great coaches and I gained that coach-player connection early on that has really helped me return the favor to the players that I get to teach now."
Cox has served as the primary pitching coach most of her coaching career and has had a lot of success. Last season, her pitching staff at Fresno State led the Mountain West Conference in ERA (2.95) and strikeouts (289), and saw her sophomore star pitcher win Mountain West Pitcher of the Year. While she was at UCR, she mentored two 20-game winners, the 2015 national leader in saves and the 2015 Co-Big West Pitcher of the Year. Her pitching staff at UCR in 2015 ranked 14th nationally in ERA (2.13) and she oversaw the program's first ever no-hitter. At Occidental College, she completely turned the program around. When she signed on as the head coach in 2007, the team was coming off a season where they only won three games. Two years later, they tied the program record for most wins in a season and proceeded to break that record in 2011. She also helped lead CSUN to NCAA Regional berth in 2007 and was a part of the 2005 Big East Coaching Staff of the Year in at Syracuse.
Jodie went on to say, "if it wasn't for my time at Cal State Fullerton, I wouldn't have even gotten into coaching. I had an incredible college experience and I learned a lot from it. Fullerton had great coaches and they were keen on teaching us not only to be better athletes, but to be better people outside of softball."
As a Titan (2000-03), Jodie Cox etched her name into the record books as both a pitcher and a hitter. She currently ranks in the top 10 in eight different categories (four hitting, four pitching) to go along with four All-Big West honors, two NFCA All-West Region honors, and a NFCA All-American Third Team selection.
Deb Hartwig is the owner and founder of JustSOFTBALL, a group of quality instructors dedicated to helping the youth of softball. The program was founded in May of 2000 after Hartwig left the Division I coaching ranks while also providing lessons in a baseball ruled area. She decided to create something that strictly focused on just softball. With the help and encouragement of Susie Parra (former CSF Assistant Coach under Michelle Gromacki) and others, she worked hard at setting up relationships with leagues and communities all over. As the relationships built and got stronger, the need for more quality instructors became clear. With the help from many longtime friends and new high-quality instructors, Hartwig has built a strong and respected reputation. Now, she travels the world sharing her passion for teaching and the game of softball.
"I knew from a young age I wanted to be a teacher," said Hartwig. "During my time at Fullerton, Judi Garman would have us do youth clinics for the local leagues. I knew after the first clinic that I wanted to do that instead of being a teacher in the traditional way."
Hartwig continued, "when I was in my youth, we didn't have a lot of extra money so a lot of people helped me play sports. I am forever grateful to those people. I know how much it means to have someone help and now I want to help those people coming from similar situations as I did."
And she has done exactly that. JustSOFTBALL is now one of the best instructional programs in Southern California. With clinics and camps held all year-long for players of all ages, kids will always have an instructor they can count on at justSOFTBALL and that's their mission.
Hartwig played two seasons at Cal State Fullerton (1989-90) and helped the Titans make back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances.
Head Coach Kelly Ford is amazed with all the Titan alumni that are now coaching this incredible sport, "our tradition is so rich with incredible softball minds and the list keeps growing. I know Coach Garman and Coach Gromacki are incredibly proud that their gifts keep on giving."
The alumni game will be played January 27 at 1:00 p.m. at Anderson Family Field followed by the Leadoff Social dinner at 4:00 p.m.
If you or anyone you know is a Cal State Fullerton alumni and is continuing to give back to the game of softball by coaching, giving private lessons, or running camps/clinics contact Collin Robinson (email@example.com) or Head Coach Kelly Ford (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can share your story.
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