While enjoying win after win throughout the years, the feeling has become routine for San Diego State softball coach Kathy Van Wyk, but last Friday she earned a win that stands apart from most.
When SDSU defeated New Mexico 8-0 last week, it was the milestone achievement for the 15-year head coach.
The win was the 500th for Van Wyk, who is the all-time winningest coach in Aztec’s softball history.
The three-time Mountain West Conference coach of the year, she wasn’t even aware she had won her 500th game.
“I didn’t even know it was my 500th win,” Van Wyk said. “I only knew because (Assistant Sports Information Director) Jamie McConeghy texted me after the game congratulating me.”
Although Van Wyk didn’t know about the potential milestone prior to the game, freshman utility Lorena Klopp was well aware of what was at stake.
“It was more than just a win,” Klopp said. “We were really excited to get that win for coach. We all knew that it was her 500th win.”
Junior pitcher Bailey Micetich was excited she could help Van Wyk with the honor.
“It was great that we could be there for her, it was great for her,” Micetich said. “I’m just glad to help her reach that milestone.”
While Van Wyk has led her team to numerous victories, she was quick to give praise to those who have helped her remain successful throughout the years.
“I’ve benefited from good assistant coaches and players,” Van Wyk said. “It’s been about hard work. When players come in here and work hard it helps me out, so I’ve been fortunate over the last couple of years. They have helped us be able to stay a top-30 program.”
Even though Van Wyk credits the players for success, Klopp knows that she has improved with the help of her coach.
“She helped me out a lot when I was kind of down in the beginning of the season,” Klopp said. “She has shown me a lot and has helped me with my focus.”
Like Klopp, Micetich acknowledged that Van Wyk has helped improve her performance on the field.
“She has helped me develop my changeup,” Micetich said. “It’s working so well this year, totally different than before.”
With six NCAA Tournament appearances under her belt, including a streak of three consecutive appearances the team will look to extend to four this year, Van Wyk is raising the profile of Aztec softball.
Even though Micetich knows Van Wyk has helped her game individually, she recognizes how valuable her coach is to the rest of the team.
“She is a big asset to us,” Micetich said. “She is a great coach. She is the one yelling at us, motivating us and helping us get better.”
Now that she has earned her 500th win, Coach Van Wyk can shift her focus to conference play.
SDSU will be looking to extend its winning streak to 14 games and improve to 4-0 in conference play as it battles the Utah Utes at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
AT A GLANCE:
When: Tomorrow, 6 p.m.
Where: SDSU Softball Stadium
Why to watch: The Aztecs will look to continue their winning streak and set the tone in the first of three games for the weekend.