Bobby got his start in the sport by following in his father’s footsteps and playing men’s fast pitch softball, but he first got into coaching softball when he was still working as an assistant baseball coach.
“I was coaching baseball at Lubbock Christian University, still playing men’s fast pitch, when Texas Tech started softball,” he said. “I was a pitcher, so I’d go over and help their pitchers on Wednesdays, when we had Wednesdays off at LCU, so one thing led to another and they hired me as an assistant coach. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
He’s now in his sixth season as ACU’s head softball coach. He added Ashley to the coaching staff during the 2011-2012 season, but she quit to be a stay-at-home mom before rejoining the staff in 2014. This is Heather’s first year with the Wildcats.
“They know exactly what I’m about and everything so you don’t have that kind of a learning curve, besides the fact they’re two pretty good coaches,” Bobby said. “Heather does a great job with the infield and Ashley does a great job with the outfield, so it’s just a perfect scenario.”
The twin sisters echoed the same refrain. Working with family members day in and day out isn’t that bad, and in fact, they like it better this way.
“We know each other really well, we get along really well, and we just work well together,” Ashley said. “We’re open with each other and we’re able to get things done. We 100 percent trust each other, so it works out.”
The sisters grew up playing softball together after their parents sparked their interest in the sport. Interestingly, Bobby recruited the pair in 2004 when he coached at Texas Tech, so they have previous experience working with each together. Since Ashley married into the Reeves family, she often jokes with Bobby and says when he recruited her for Texas Tech, he recruited her for life.
Among the many changes the softball team has seen in past years””including the transition to a new turf field this season””the biggest change was the move to Div. I in 2014.
After a team moves up to Div. I, they’re ineligible in postseason play for four years, meaning they can win the conference championship, but can’t go further than that. ACU won’t be eligible for postseason play until the 2018 season.
The challenge of convincing athletes to come to Abilene, even though they can’t play in the postseason, has been the hardest thing about the switch. Thankfully, athletes want to become Wildcats for more than just the Div. I athletic program.
“They want to come for the academics, they want to come for the Christ-centered part of it,” Ashley said.
Despite all the challenges that came with the Div. I move, the trio still remains optimistic. After all, the team was picked to finish sixth out of 12 teams in the Southland Conference this year, which is a huge jump up from 10th place last year. Three players also just made the All-Conference preseason first team””Alyson Bishoff, Peyton Hedrick and Taylor Brown“”which proves the coaches are doing a good job of recruiting quality athletes.
“ACU’s been great and supportive for everything we do,” Bobby said. “I think we’re on the road to having a new program and we’re excited.”