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Coach Molly Fichtner’s ‘Gold Coin Calls’ keep ULM softball connected



MONROE, La. – University of Louisiana Monroe Softball Head Coach Molly Fichtner has taken creative efforts to ensure members of the ULM softball team remain connected while away from campus.

Once courses moved online in mid-March, “Coach Molly,” as she’s known, texted each softball player to check in with them. Fichtner also began to send her players snail mail.

“Everyone loves receiving mail!” said Fichtner.

Recently, Zoom has become the softball program’s favorite source of connection. The coaching staff had end-of-the-year evaluations with each student-athlete individually through Zoom.

Fichtner is also still reaching out to Warhawk softball recruits via Zoom.

“I have connected regularly with every student-athlete committed to play at ULM softball, along with watching video and making phone calls for others. There is so much that we can do for recruiting during this time. We receive emails daily of recruits that are interested in our program, and our circumstances are providing us additional time to evaluate those videos and profiles thoroughly,” said Fichtner.

For the month of April, Fichtner began a series called “Gold Coin Calls” with the softball players. Dubbed “Gold Coin Calls” because the ULM softball team uses the term “gold coins” to refer to something someone is extremely passionate about and can talk about for hours.

“This was an idea that I heard from a former teammate and USA Olympic Softball player, Haylie McCleney. On a podcast, someone had asked her how the USA team was staying connected during this time (considering they are from all over the country). She had mentioned they had been doing Zoom “Ted Talks,” where each teammate would have a day that they would talk about something with their team they were passionate about outside of softball,” stated Fichtner.

Fichtner contacted McCleney and requested to use the idea with the ULM team.

“Inside of our program, everyone shares the same gold coin ­– softball. But we also all individually have other gold coins. During the hectic and rigorous schedule of being a student-athlete, sometimes we don’t always have those opportunities to get to know ourselves or our teammates off the field,” stated Fichtner.

Each student-athlete has a scheduled “Gold Coin Call” presentation during the month of April. All of the coaches and players attend each meeting to listen to their presentation. Their presentations have to be on a “gold coin” of theirs that is unrelated to softball.

“So far, this has been extremely successful. I get text messages after each call saying how awesome it was. In addition to our teammates getting to know you more, you also have an opportunity to self-evaluate. Who am I outside of the sport of softball? If softball is what I do, then who am I? COVID-19 gives us an amazing opportunity to find out who we are as people,” said Fichtner.