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Softball:Initially Coach Gerry Glasco lost his mind, but now he's already planning program's future

Kevin Foote, Acadiana Advocate, March 17, 2020

There was so much time, effort, energy and anticipation put into the 2020 UL softball season that when the NCAA canceled the Women’s College World Series last Thursday, coach Gerry Glasco admits he temporarily lost his mind.

“When it happened, I like, ‘I’m going to die. I’m not going to make it. I’ve lost my team. I’ve lost the best team I’ll ever coach,’ ” Glasco admits now. “I was blowing things out of proportion in my head. The day of the cancellation, I was really feeling sorry for Gerry Glasco.”

Reality had truly set in and so had some big-picture perspective in the aftermath of the coronavirus canceling the remainder of the college softball season.

“Just putting it in that perspective, the next morning, I was back in reality,” he said. “It’s just softball. I’m going to coach another softball game. These kids, if they want to play another softball game, they’re all going to be able to play another softball game. So let’s not over-dramatize this thing and let’s move forward.”

Of course, no one blamed Glasco and his team for being upset. The team was still preparing for practice that afternoon when the news came.

Suddenly, Glasco and his team retreated to the clubhouse where so many ominous conversations had taken place over the past two seasons.

“Just so many memories,” Glasco said. “Told the girls about Lynn Williams (death there) … and when we lost our coach Geri Ann (Glasco). We’ve been through a lot together. One of the things that made this team really special is they’re very resilient, very mature and very tough-minded.

“This will serve them well in their lives. They’re going to become really resilient young women. They’ll be tougher minded.”

At the time, though, it just didn’t make any sense to Glasco and his team.

“In the moment, it was really tough,” Glasco said. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, because in their minds, it doesn’t make sense. In my mind, why in the world would you cancel it on the 12th of March instead of just suspending it for two weeks until you had more information?

“The only way you can explain it is that the NCAA had information that this thing is going to be really serious in four to eight weeks, so let’s be realistic and not build up hopes. If that’s what they did, it was tough, but you can’t argue with that if that’s what they believed.”

Like so many coaches across the country, Glasco had no idea what to do with himself this past weekend.

“I’m lost,” he said. “I don’t know what to do. I was here Saturday sitting around all by myself.”

Glasco is always thinking, always planning something. He used that time to start pondering the program’s future. On Friday, the NCAA revealed it would be “appropriate” for spring sports athletes to get an extra year of eligibility.

What exactly would that mean for the Cajuns?

“My guess is at least three will probably come back,” Glasco said. “That’s my guess. Anything is possible. Maybe none will come back, anything is possible.”

If softball players are given another year, Glasco foresees life being even more challenging for next season’s freshmen.

“Those seniors coming back for another year are going to be on a completely different level mentally than these underclassmen,” he said.

Consequently, Glasco foresees a Women’s College World Series for the ages in 2021.

“No doubt, next year the World Series will be the most powerful College World Series in history,” he predicted.

The process won't be as simple as it might sound for some schools, especially at UL.

For instance, the Cajuns have already signed 11 newcomers to enter the program in the fall and were scheduled to lose eight seniors.

“We thought it was a great fit when we signed them, but that was because they played the same position in a lot of cases,” Glasco said. “But if they come back, are we now still the best place for them? Are we the best fit? Those are all issues we’ll have to get answers for.”

Naturally, he focused on new solutions in the circle, at shortstop and at second base in recruiting. If those seniors return, the depth chart will be loaded.

“We’ll have more to gain than any program in the story,” Glasco said. “I’d say us and Washington probably have the top two senior classes in the country, so we have a lot at stake now to try to get these kids to come back and try to play one more year for us.”

If the NCAA finalizes that extra year of eligibility, Glasco said he’ll want to know his players’ decisions pretty quickly for an additional reason as well.

“If they come back, I want to play an even tougher schedule than this year,” Glasco revealed. “If they don’t come back, then we won’t be playing for RPI, we’ll be playing for player development. That’ll be a complete different type of schedule.”

At that point, he’ll be recruiting his own players.

“I told the kids that if they want to come back, I’m going to do everything I can to make it happen on my end,” he said. “I’m going to try to make it a really special season for the girls who came back. Things like really fun spring trips and other types of activities with our program.”

For now, Glasco is also creating a list of activities he never thought possible.

“I’m going to make a list of all the thing I’ve always wanted to do in April or May that I never can do,” he said. “I always wanted to go to my Dad’s pond in May when the bass are spawning. You can literally in May can catch a 100 bass in two or three hours.”

“I might make a trip up to North Dakota or Canada and go for a spring goose hunt.”