Sept. 28, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Stacy May-Johnson is in her second season as an assistant coach for the University of Iowa softball program. This past summer, May-Johnson played for the USA Softball Team, where she helped the Red, White and Blue win the World Cup of Softball VII in Oklahoma City.
Describe your emotions when you found out you made Team USA and won gold at the World Cup?
I think it was excitement for both of them. To have a chance to play for Team USA was pretty awesome. After we won the World Cup, honestly, we step on the field expecting to win. It was a big thrill to win on our home soil and to win an event that so many people really invest in in our country.
What was the best part of playing for the USA Softball Team?
Putting on the uniform, for sure. Softball is softball, it is the same sport I’ve been playing since I was four-five years old, so the game doesn’t really change too much. It’s an amazing feeling to put on the uniform.
What are you most looking forward to in playing at the Pan Am Games?
Getting back out there and competing. That’s really what I have always enjoyed about this game; to get on the field to compete and compete at a high level.
Is playing in your future after you wrap up your stint with Team USA?
That remains to be seen. They will hold tryouts again in January, but I am not committed or uncommitted at this point. That’s a conversation I need to have with the people at Iowa, and my family, to see if that is the direction for me to go. I would love to play again, but certainly, some other things outside of softball in my normal life need to line up for me to play again.
How has your play with Team USA helped out in coaching and on the recruiting trail at Iowa?
Anytime you go and play, you always learn new things. There is no replacement for experience. Every time you step on the field, you learn something new, and there are definitely things that I’ve learned as a player that have helped me as a coach, whether it be mechanics or the approach to the game. Anything that I can pull from the game I am going to share with our team here. That helps them grow. On the recruiting side of things, I don’t think it hurts at all when I get on the phone with a recruit and they say `I saw you play in the World Cup’. I don’t think that is going to hurt Iowa at all, and it’s definitely an advantage for us at this point.
What has been the biggest adjustment for you in transitioning from playing to coaching?
There is a mindset – as a player there is a certain mindset, as a coach there is a certain mindset. When I am playing, I will very briefly forget that I am not a coach, but a player, and it’s not my job to coach. Every once in a while you forget about that. I seem to be able to switch back to my coaching hat pretty quickly though.
Are there aspects about coaching that you enjoy more than playing?
I think coaching is a lot more rewarding than playing. I love to win, love to compete and be out there on a winning team as a player. I think that watching our players succeed and this team is very gratifying. It’s not less fun to win – winning is always fun — but it’s a little more rewarding, and I can’t pinpoint the reason why.
What are your long-term coaching aspirations?
I’d like to be here for as long as they’ll have me around and as long as this is the right place for me to be. I want to stay in coaching at this level for a long, long time. I couldn’t tell you where I am going to be in five, 10, 20 years, but I hope to be coaching at a very high, competitive level.
What can fans expect of the Hawkeyes in year two with the program?
I think you’re going to see a better team, no question. We’re going to be a little more refined in all aspects of the game. I think we’ll be better than we were last year, but that comes down to execution. We are in position to be a better team, but there are no guarantees because every time you step on the field, you still have to make it happen. We’ve been growing every day, and we’re going to continue to grow just like last year. Based on what we’ve seen the last year, year and a half, we’re going to continue to get better.