USF softball coach Ken Eriksen has the Bulls on a run. USF makes the NCAA tournament for a third straight year. They'll open the first round in Tallahassee on Friday against South Carolina.
It's the best stretch for Eriksen since he's been at USF, who has lead USF to 12 tournaments in 18 years. These last three season have been most impressive with USF winning 75 percent of their games.
"I didn't realize that,” Eriksen said. “I've never really gone out and told them 'win'. We're not teaching to win. We're just teaching them to play flawless ball. The scoreboard is something that takes care of itself."
When Coach Eriksen finds something that works he sticks with it, right down to the pre-game music. While many think some of the choices are old. The players have embraced it and have actually put their own twist on it.
USF starts off every game in a huddle, gathering in a circle to get pumped up. It's their way of getting into rhythm to song's from the 70's like "Soul Train.”
"We like doing the ‘Soul Train,’” said sophomore outfielder Lee Ann Spivey. Everyone just lines up in two lines and just go down the line. Having a good time, making sure that everyone's laughing and ready to play ball."
"If you’re not dancing or 'shag-time' then you're going to be doing some sit-ups or push-ups,” Eriksen said. “You better have fun out here or it's not worth it."
His players see their coach as superstitious, but Eriksen isn't about to admit it.
"I don't have any,” Eriksen says with a smile.
His routine works, and while he doesn't prefer to break out of it, Eriksen and players are happy to be going to Tallahassee for the first round of the regionals. A break from having to face in the Gators in Gainesville, which they had to do the last two years.
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