|Fastpitch Hall of Fame Honors Williams' Herman|
|Williams Sports Information, |
10:33PM / Monday, October 04, 2021
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – It has never just been about winning or losing for Williams College softball coach Kris Herman, who will receive her sport's highest honor Dec. 10 in Las Vegas when she is inducted into the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Herman has coached collegiate softball at Tufts and Williams for a total of 33 years and owns a career record of 779 – 390 – 5 - 666. This spring she will begin her 18th year of coaching Williams softball, while also serving as the athletic department's senior women's administrator.
Growing up in Vermont, Herman did not play softball until she reached high school, but she did play Little League Baseball in Montpelier. Herman enrolled at Tufts University and was a member of the Jumbos' first varsity softball team ,which began in her junior year. At Tufts she was coached by Dave Caputi, who also served as an assistant football coach at Tufts.
After Herman's senior season in 1986, she joined Caputi's softball staff as an assistant coach and she assisted with the Tufts volleyball team as well. When Caputi left Tufts to join the Williams football staff and serve as head softball coach, Herman was promoted to head coach of the Jumbos in 1988. Her first year as head coach of the Jumbos Herman coached two classes of former teammates.
It was never a burning desire of Herman's to coac h softball, but once she got involved in coaching the sport, "I never thought of anything better," she said. "As a coach you have to know the movements of the sport, how to develop players, and then there is the cultural side, where you develop personal and cultural relationships with the team members."
Relationships and helping young women grow personally, as players, and working together on a common goal is what matters most to Herman. Games are going to be won and lost, and, though Herman has hit innumerable ground balls and fly balls to her team members in practice, errors are going to happen, as well as bad calls by umpires, or great plays by the other team that will affect the outcome of a game.
In 2000 Herman's Tufts team became the first NESCAC team to advance to the NCAA DIII Softball World Series.
"That experience was an eye-opener to see the talent and being able to play in that environment," noted Herman. "It was due to all of the great kids and assistant coaches who gave a lot to the cause."
For Herman coaching comes down to understanding the power of team, team culture, language, norms, and standards that will determine how a team will perform.
"Figuring out ways to win games and still have fun are what make coaching rewarding for me," she stated.
One thing Herman has never lost sight of as a coach is, "The key is being fully connected to your team. I'm a member of the team as the coach. Most seasons end with a loss and most often those teams would stay in their team huddle and not want to leave the huddle, because once they broke that huddle, poof, the season and maybe a career is over."
Herman is quick to point out, "That most of the world's top athletes and entertainers from Serena Williams to Yoyo Ma to Beyonce and even the men and women running the largest corporations have ‘job’ coaches. We all need someone else to talk to and bounce ideas off of or learn from, not just our players."
Herman left Tufts to join the Williams Athletic Department in the fall of 2003 and was hired to be the head softball coach and assistant volleyball coach. Herman sought the opportunity at Williams because she knew it was a special place that had strong athletic programs across the board as well as a strong emphasis on academics.
"I'm from a small town and I love small towns," Herman added. "I pretty much walk everywhere in Williamstown. One of the things I like best about Williams is that we have an awesome staff and department and we are all willing to share information and ask questions."
Kris Herman is a founding member of the Team IMPACT organization. Team IMPACT enhances the lives of children with life-threatening diseases by matching them with college athletic teams, providing an extended support network from which both the children and the teams gain inspiration and perspective. The organization is 10 years old and thus far 11 Williams teams have participated in the program. At the organization's most recent fundraiser held at Gillette Stadium, $3 million was raised.
Herman points to the building of Team IMPACT as a turning point in her coaching career.
"Team IMPACT is a non-profit that's built like a for profit business," she stated. "We created a business operation that has detailed plans and goals, uses benchmarks, and measures everything. We also made sure that every effort by the organization was followed up to completion. We held people to their responsibilities. Until I joined Team IMPACT I was more about just showing up and figuring out each day how to get better. From Team IMPACT I learned the importance of having a plan for each day and following through on that plan. I'm much more organized now as a coach than I have ever been."
Herman has participated in the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) 12 times over 19 years, pedaling from the far western edge of Massachusetts all the way to Provincetown on the far tip of Cape Cod to raise money for The Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
"The PMC raises so much money and awareness, and does so with an incredible organization and impressive logistics. Like most, my world has been touched by cancer and I believe greatly in the cause," Herman said.
"I love coaching," Herman offered. "It's just fun to be alongside these kids who work so hard to become a team and working to become greater than the sum of its parts."