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Ms. Alyson Ann Habetz
4254 Heathersage Cir
Tuscaloosa, AL 35405
University Of Alabama
|Alyson red shirted in basketball in the 1993-94 season. Since the Athletic Network uses calendar years to note participation in sports, her profile reflects 1991-95 for the years in which she was a member of the women's basketball team.
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Alyson Habetz, Associate Softball Coach, University of Alabama
Throughout my life, there is only one sports hero who I chose to emulate. He is a man who truly possesses the status of "hero" in my eyes- the one pure ambassador of baseball, Tommy Lasorda.
I had the great thrill of meeting Coach Lasorda when I was 10 years old. I participated in a baseball clinic in Lafayette, LA that several Major Leaguers were attending and I was like kid in a candy store! I carried my glove with Sharpie in hand anxiously seeking autographs from all the "Boys of Summer." After being turned down or ignored by several "big timers," I found myself at the main entrance of the coliseum awaiting the arrival of the clinic's guest speaker, Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda. As he approached, the clinic leaders were rushing him through and clearing the way so he could get to his already delayed TV interview. When he came past me, I quickly held up my glove and asked if he would PLEASE sign it. I was shocked when Coach Lasorda came to a complete stop in the midst of the rush! Everyone urged him to hurry and he sternly said, "Wait, I'm going to sign her glove." He then stooped down to my level, asked my name and if I played ball, and then gave me his autograph. WOW! I couldn't believe he took the time to be so nice to a kid he didn't even know. After signing my glove, he handed me his business card and told me to write him. From that moment on, the L.A. Dodgers were my team and Tommy Lasorda was my hero!
Unlike most sports heroes, Tommy always went above and beyond the expectations I set for him. Following our initial encounter at the clinic, I wrote him a letter. To my surprise, he wrote me back and continued to respond to every letter I sent. He would sign his letters: Love, your adopted uncle, Tommy Lasorda, so I began to address him as my "Uncle Tom."
Our relationship grew beyond pen pals as Uncle Tom became a huge inspiration in all of the dreams I was trying to fulfill. My passion for the game of baseball took me to the courtroom in high school as I had to fight a rule in Louisiana to become the first girl in the state to play boys baseball. While I was going through the two-year court process, Uncle Tom would send me encouraging letters that motivated me to follow my dream and not get discouraged. After two incredible years of playing high school baseball, I thought my baseball career was over and I went to the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana Lafayette) on a basketball/softball scholarship. After college, I heard about a women's professional baseball team called the Colorado Silver Bullets and couldn't believe it,professional baseball? That was my lifelong dream! I called Uncle Tom and told him all about it. He then called Silver Bullets manager Phil Neikro and got me a tryout. As a result of Uncle Tom's persuasion, I was able to live my dream as member of the Colorado Silver Bullets for three years.
Just when I thought my hero couldn't reach a higher status, he continued to amaze me as he invited me to Dodger games and even let me take batting practice with the Dodgers! He once took a detour from his travels to come and speak at my college and visit my home in Crowley, LA to have dinner with me and my family. It was truly a special occasion for my entire family as we ate and listened to his incredible stories all night. I later became even closer to Uncle Tom and his family as they became my home away from home when I trained in Los Angeles. Amazingly enough, the more I was around him, the more his energy and enthusiasm inspired me.
Uncle Tom's passion for life, people, and baseball had a tremendous impact on my career. I can remember walking with him through a mall in Houston as droves of people surrounded him asking for autographs. I stood by his side in amazement as I watched him speak to every person and give hundreds of autographs. What struck me the most was that he didn't just sign his name, but instead took the time to make each person feel special. I kept this experience and many like it close to my heart when I was playing baseball with the Bullets. There were times after some bad games that I just wanted to hang my head and go straight to the clubhouse. Of course, the first person I would think of was my Uncle Tom and how I never once saw him turn down an autograph. I would immediately raise my head and sign autographs till the stadium lights were turned off.
When I was in college, I remember asking Uncle Tom what profession he thought I should pursue. Without hesitation he said, "You need to be a coach!" Well, as I enter my 10th year as a softball coach at the University of Alabama, I realize that he was right on! He continues to be a source of knowledge and inspiration for me as I call on him whenever I need advice or a creative way to motivate. He has come to watch our team play on several occasions and calls the team "his Bama girls." He has truly molded my career as I try to emulate his passion and zeal for life and people in all that I do as a coach.
Twenty five years later, I often think about how blessed I am that Uncle Tom took the time to sign my glove that day. Every moment I have spent with him has become a treasured memory. His zestful spirit and the many life lessons he has taught me continue to motivate me on a daily basis to be a better person. My only hope is that I will successfully pass on the intangible gifts he shared with me by the example I set for others throughout my life. I consider it an amazing privilege to call Tommy Lasorda my hero, my mentor, and my friend.
Thank you, Uncle Tom! Happy 80th birthday. I love you and may God continue to bless you, your family, and the Dodgers!
Alyson was requested to document her history with Tommy Lasorda for his 80th birthday in 2007. Tommy was born on September 22, 1927.
His website is
Please click on Featured Links and Tommy Stories for the other stories written for the occassion.
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Alyson Habetz Promoted to Associate Head Coach
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. � After nine years helping University of Alabama head softball coach Patrick Murphy build the Crimson Tide into a perennial College World Series contender, assistant coach Alyson Habetz has been promoted to Associate Head Coach, Murphy announced today.
�I am truly grateful to Coach Murphy, (Senior Women's Administrator) Marie Robbins, and (Athletics Director) Mal Moore for giving me this tremendous opportunity," Habetz said. �I am deeply humbled and extremely honored that Coach Murphy would promote me in such a way. He has molded my coaching career and I certainly couldn't ask for a better mentor. I consider it a privilege to work with him and to be surrounded by so many amazing people at this great university. I am so proud to be a part of the Crimson Tide softball family."
Habetz, who has been on Murphy's staff since he took the head job prior to the 1999 season, has helped lead the Tide to nine NCAA tournament appearances, including College World Series berths in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2006. During that span, Alabama also captured the Southeastern Conference regular season title in 2006 and a pair of tournament crowns in 2003 and 2005.
The Tide coaching staff has been named Regional Coaching Staff of the Year three times in Habetz' tenure, most recently in 2006. In her post as an assistant, Habetz was responsible for the outfield play and team offense while also supervising the Tide's camps and clinics throughout the year, duties she will retain in her new post.
Habetz has also proven herself as one of the best recruiting assistant coaches in the nation, helping Murphy put together some of the best recruiting classes in the country during her tenure at the Capstone.
�I am extremely fortunate to have such a loyal friend and assistant in Alyson," Murphy said. �Alabama softball would not be where it is today without her in the program the past nine years. She has consistently been one of the top coaches and recruiters in Division I softball during her career at Alabama, as evidenced by the amount of requests from other schools to interview her for head coaching positions. Her loyalty to our program speaks volumes about the type of person she is."
A former All-Region and All-American softball player at Southwestern Louisiana, Habetz came to the Tide following a professional baseball career with the first women's professional league in baseball history. Habetz also broke barriers as a high school athlete, becoming the first female baseball player in Louisiana high school history, earning the right to compete for Notre Dame high school in Crowley, La., after fighting the issue in the court system.
Last season, Habetz helped guide the Tide to a 55-10 record and a Regional championship. Alabama was eliminated in the Super Regional round by Washington and missed the College World Series for the first time since the 2004 season.
Released on 07/11/07by RollTide.com the official website of the University of Alabama Athletics.
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Alyson's speech which was presented to the LHSAA Softball Coaches Association at their Hall of Fame induction on May, 2006 (presented in absentia).
I would first like to extend my sincere apology for not being able to speak to you in person. However, as you probably know, my coaching duties have placed me at the SEC Tournament where I have a responsibility to my team. But, I can assure you that my lack of attendance in NO WAY signifies a lack of appreciation for this incredible honor. I would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the Louisiana Softball Coach�s Association for thinking me worthy of being inducted into your Hall of Fame� WOW�words truly can�t express how proud and yet how humble I feel to be a part of such a prestigious group. I also want to thank you for your continued commitment to young female athletes. There is no greater honor than being called �Coach� and having the opportunity to make a positive difference in a young kid�s life. I commend you on the many sacrifices you make to help them grow and fulfill their dreams.
I know I certainly would not be where I am today without the inspiration and guidance I have received from my coaches throughout my career. They have each impacted my life and have helped me develop not only as a player, but more importantly as a person. To each of them I say thank you for your patience, your discipline, your love, and for never letting me get by with less than my best! To the fans (community) who always supported me throughout my high school and college careers�thank you for helping me hurdle the many obstacles along the way. A special thank you to the �little fans��some of whom may be in this room today�you have no idea how many times YOU were my sole source of inspiration. To hear a little kid come up after a game I went 0-4 in and say she wanted to grow up to be just like me�I mean�talk about inspiration! My response was usually, �You didn�t just watch that game did you?� Seriously, though, no matter if I was on the field, in the classroom, or out with friends, I always felt a responsibility to the little fans and wanted to give back to them the motivation and simple joys they always gave me.
To my family�well, let me just say that I could write a thousand pages and not even scratch the surface of how much you mean to me. Your unconditional love, support, and guidance has always provided me with a safe place to grow. You are truly my backbone. Being the youngest of eight, I was always surrounded by my heroes�I wanted to be as beautiful and smart as my sisters, as athletic and confident as my brothers, and as wise and faith filled as my parents. Needless to say, I still have a long way to go! I oftentimes joke about being the youngest and say that mom and dad stopped at perfection�but, truth be known� the only perfection that I could ever achieve, is making you proud to have me as your daughter and baby sister and for you to know that all of my success is a direct result of the many gifts and values I received from you. I appreciate you more and more every day and I thank God for blessing me with the most incredible family I could ever dream of having.
For those of you who know anything about me, you know that my faith in God is my passion. He has blessed me with SO MUCH and I owe Him EVERYTHING. All that I do that has any value is for Him, because of Him, and through Him. My ultimate goal in life is to meet Him at the end of my journey and hear Him say �Well done my good and faithful servant�now enter into the place I have prepared for you.�
And last, but certainly not least�I want to congratulate the all stars. What a tremendous honor! You guys have displayed a superior talent on the field that deserves recognition and I am so happy for each one of you. Like they say�it takes a little more to be a champion, and you guys are all champions because of the countless hours of hard work�the blood, the sweat and the tears, and the many sacrifices you have made in an effort to accomplish your dreams�you should be extremely proud. If I could leave you with any words of wisdom, I would first ask each of you at some point today, to take a moment to appreciate this opportunity. Realize what an honor you have been given and appreciate all the people who have helped you achieve it�especially your parents, coaches, and teammates. And finally�go out and PLAY hard�leave it all on the field and play with a passion that exemplifies your love for the game and desire to compete. As seniors you will be starting new chapters in your lives very soon, so, I leave you with a challenge� Don�t expect anything�earn everything. Give more in this life than you take�the only true fulfillment comes in giving. Have faith and ALWAYS believe in the wonderful person God has created you to be. I wish you all the best as you play today and pursue your dreams of tomorrow. Thank you again and God Bless you all.
Inducted into the LHSAA Softball Coaches Hall of Fame in May, 2006
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Four athletes join �S' Club Hall of Fame
O'Connor, Habetz, Landry, Mdhlongwa make up class.
October 8, 2003
LAFAYETTE � Baseball pitcher Garrett O'Connor, softball-basketball standout Alyson Habetz, football's Gerald Landry and NCAA track and field champion Ndabe Mdhlongwa will be inducted into the UL Lafayette �S" Club Hall of Fame this week.
The four will be part of Homecoming 2003 activities at the school, including introduction at halftime of Saturday's 4 p.m. football game against UL Monroe at Cajun Field.
Habetz, a Notre Dame of Crowley product who went on to play professional baseball with the Silver Bullets prior to her current stint as a softball assistant at Alabama, will be honored for her contributions to Lady Cajun softball from 1990-94.
She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1995 and was the outstanding graduate for the College of Liberal Arts at UL Lafayette that same year.
During her college career, Habetz was a four-year letterman in softball and basketball. She received All-South Region honors all four years and was named All-American in 1994 and Academic All-American two years.
Habetz helped to lead the Lady Cajuns to their first World Series appearance in 1993.
O'Connor, a former Lafayette High star who pitched and hit his Burger Chef team to the American Legion state championship in 1981, excelled as a Cajun pitcher from 1982-86.
He won 22 games in his Cajun career, including nine in 1984 when he had a 1.79 earned run average and 78 strikeouts, and worked 290 1/3 innings. O'Connor led UL in innings pitched for three straight years.
He graduated from UL Lafayette in 1985 with a degree in Business Administration and is a successful local businessman.
O'Connor, a four-year letterman, received All-Louisiana and All-American honors during his career.
Mdhlongwa (1993-96) graduated from UL Lafayette in 1996 with a degree in General Studies and then received his MBA from UL in 1998.
A four-year letter winner in track and field, Mdhlongwa received All-American honors three times and was an eight-time Sun Belt Conference Champion in the triple jump.
Mdhlongwa was the 1995 NCAA triple jump champion, and competed in both the 1995 World Championships and 1996 Olympics for his native Zimbabwe.
He holds the school record in the triple jump at 55-9 1/4, and also owns the Cajun Track stadium mark of 56-10 3/4 in March 1999 Louisiana Classics competition.
Landry (1963-66) received a B.S. in Marketing and an M.A. in Education from UL Lafayette. He was a four-year letterman in football, receiving All-Conference honors two of those years. Landry holds UL Lafayette records in most extra points and consecutive field goals as well as leading scorer and receiver.
�Our goal is to remind each new generation of athletes of the tradition they must uphold and the ideals that they should strive for while they are wearing the UL Lafayette uniforms," �S" Club President Dwight Prudhomme (football, 1979-82) said.
The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to give recognition to those athletes who have made a significant contribution to the good name of the university by demonstrating exceptional ability and sportsmanship on the playing fields, commendable scholarship in the classroom, high quality leadership on the campus, and who after leaving the university established a personal reputation for character and citizenship in the community which they reside.
�The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
October 8, 2003
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Habetz' pioneer legacy is solid
October 12, 2003
Alyson Habetz was a pioneer at a young age.
The Crowley product was such a good athlete in her youth that she joined boys and played on her high school baseball team at Notre Dame.
Habetz soon excelled in both softball and basketball at UL Lafayette, then broke more new ground by playing professional baseball with the Silver Bullets.
It was no surprise, then, to find Habetz among a select group of four honorees inducted Saturday into the �S" Club Hall of Fame.
�It's an incredible honor to be part of such a prestigious group," Habetz said just before being introduced during halftime of UL's homecoming game against UL Monroe at Cajun Field.
�It's a reflection, really, of the wonderful people who helped me along the way. I had great coaches, teammates, fans and friends. I've been blessed."
Habetz, UL's 1995 Outstanding Graduate in the College of Communications, is now an assistant softball coach at Alabama under Pat Murphy.
It was poetic justice last May when both Alabama and UL Lafayette were in the Women's College World Series, since Habetz helped the Lady Cajuns to their first WCWS in 1993.
Just as special, though, was her time as a member of the Silver Bullets.
�It had always been my dream to play professional baseball," Habetz said. �The Silver Bullets came along right after college. It was just about the opportunity given, and it came around at the right time."
It also helps to have talent, and the Hall of Fame quartet had plenty of that.
Triple jumper Ndabe Mdhlongwa was an NCAA champion, a multiple Sun Belt Conference champion and an Olympian for his native Zimbabwe. He is now a business consultant living in Dallas.
�I first got the call from Lance (UL track coach Lance Veazey), saying that he nominated me," Mdhlongwa said. �Then I got a really nice letter about it, and a month or so later another letter telling me I'd been selected. It's very exciting.
�It never crossed my mind that I would be considered. When you see the emotion of people like Walter Payton and Jim Kelly when they go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, you're thrilled to experience something like this for yourself.
�I just wish Boo (former UL assistant Irving Schexnayder) could be here. He couldn't make it, but this is a direct result of his work. This says something for him, too."
Gerald Landry, a star kicker, punter and receiver for Ragin' Cajun football in the 1960's, was thrilled with the �S" Club recognition.
�This is out of sight," Landry said. �It's my biggest thrill in athletics. One of my teammates, Tom Couste, nominated me. I knew there were certain guidelines, and there were certain records I held.
�There are probably a lot of people happy in Acadiana today, but I've got to be numero uno."
At the halftime ceremonies, the Cajuns were down 28-14 to UL Monroe and Landry was agonizing with other Cajun followers.
�I just hope we can get this thing turned around," Landry said.
Former Cajun baseball pitcher Garrett O'Connor was a Lafayette High product who was part of a turnaround in UL's fortunes in the 1980's.
�We went to the University of Texas and nobody respected us," O'Connor said. �At the time, Texas and Texas A&M were the dominant teams in the game, and we took two of three from them. I pitched a one-hitter, and that helped establish us and made us believe in ourselves.
�Mel Didier and Brad Kelley brought a big-league atmosphere to our program.
�I also remember my win against LSU in Skip Bertman's first year there. Me and Xavier Hernandez beat them."
The Cajuns at the time were loaded with local and area products, and that influenced O'Connor to stick around longer.
�Most of us were from the area, local kids, and that made me want to come back for my final year," O'Connor said. �I had been taken in the first round by the Twins. But I stayed and was picked in the second round by the Yankees."
Now a local businessman, O'Connor relished Hall of Fame inclusion.
�I wish the starting nine could be here with me," he said. �It's a total team effort. I just get credit for the �W'. I'm proud for my kids, my family and friends.
�It's a fraternity for life."
There is room, of course, for outstanding women like Alyson Habetz in that select group.
�The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
October 12, 2003
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Alyson wrote of her pioneer experiences in organized baseball, including her successful actions to become a member of her high school baseball team.
I developed a passion for the game of baseball at a very young age. Having four older brothers and a dad who coached, I was ALWAYS at the baseball field trying to be like my brothers and anxiously awaiting the end of their games so I could run around the bases and dive into home plate�I loved getting dirty.
At the age of seven, I was FINALLY able to play baseball on a team! I was so thrilled to get my first uniform and go to a real team practice. I was the only girl so the boys looked at me like I was an alien at first, but I was SO EXCITED about playing baseball, I barely noticed. I believe I gained their respect after a few practices, and we became best buddies. I continued to play with most of these same guys and traveled with them on all-star teams for the next eleven years as I played in the Crowley Recreational league from T-ball through colt league and then onto American Legion�always being the only girl.
Being the only girl on the team became the norm, but when it was time to go to high school at Notre Dame, that �norm� was not accepted. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) had a rule that said girls were not allowed to play on boys� teams in high school, so, as a result, I would not be allowed to play baseball. Needless to say, I was crushed! I couldn�t believe I would not be able to play the game I adored simply because I was a girl.
My high school baseball coach and my principal went to Baton Rouge to plead my case to the LHSAA and ask if they would make am exception to the rule since I had been playing baseball for so long and there was no softball team at Notre Dame. Their request was denied, and my parents were told the only way for me to play was to take the case to court. I remember riding in the car back home from Baton Rouge and sobbing the whole way. The thought of not playing baseball was devastating. My parents told me that going to court would probably be a long process with no guarantees, but they would support me if I truly wanted to play that bad. Before they even got the last word out, I responded with, �I want to go to court if that is the only way I can play.� I just couldn�t imagine NOT playing baseball.
My parents and I, with the unbelievable support of my family, friends, coaches, and teammates, spent two years in the court system trying to get the rule changed. After being on Good Morning America, ABC News, and in USA Today, the case gained national attention and I started to receive many letters from people throughout the country. The majority of the letters were encouraging and inspired me to persevere.
FINALLY, after what seemed to be a no win case, I received the overwhelming news! I was in class with Coach Gaspard, the baseball coach, and someone knocked on the door and he stepped out of class for minute. He returned to class with a smile on his face and said, �Alyson, they changed the rule�.you can play!� WOW, I can�t even describe how I felt at that moment. The entire school was let out of class to celebrate with me and it was truly a day I will never forget!
I went on to play baseball for the next two years and I loved every minute of it. After only being allowed to practice with the team while the case was in court, it was nice to finally put on the uniform! I pitched and played first base and received All-District team honors my senior year as our team made it to the state semi-finals.
Through this experience, I learned lots of valuable life lessons that have helped me throughout my career. Perseverance, the value of earning what you get, and the understanding that life is not always fair are only a few. Most of all, I gained an even deeper love and appreciation for my family and friends and all the people who played a part in making my dream become a reality.
Athletic Network Footnote: Alyson provided the following information regarding her high school timelines for playing on the baseball team at Notre Dame of Crowley:
My first day of Court in Baton Rouge was March 11, 1987 (I was a freshman). I actually lost that case and it went before the Supreme Court in New Orleans. While the case was pending with the Supreme Court, the LHSAA changed the rule. I could only practice with the team my freshman and sophmore years and was able to play my junior and senior years, the 1989 and 1990 baseball seasons.
|Basketball- (W):|| 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995|
|Softball:|| 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994|
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