NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

New softball coach has high expectations

The softball team is going into their third season and they have a new head coach.

Kendra Hobbs has taken over for former Head Coach Robert Gillespie. Hobbs has been an assistant coach on the team for the past two seasons and has a ton of experience in the sport.

“I started playing baseball when I was 5 years old. I played up until my freshman year of high school. When I made the varsity softball team, I decided to switch over for good. I played all four years for Whittier Tech’s outfield. I then went on to play four years at MCLA (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts) and I continue to play even now in modified leagues,” Hobbs said.

During her junior year of college, her high school volleyball coach, who she calls her mentor, asked Hobbs to be an assistant coach on a traveling softball team, the Northeast Hurricanes. Hobbs eagerly accepted the position.

Hobbs has also been coaching an AAU for six years now. In total, she has been playing softball for 17 years and coaching the sport for six years.

She says her one of favorite aspects of coaching softball is seeing her players succeed.

“I have always had a love for the game. It’s very much a mental game, and you have so many things to think about at once. My favorite thing about coaching is seeing my athletes succeed, or seeing something click for them that they have been working so hard to get; setting goals high and reaching them. Like I said, it’s all mental, so if you can focus on what you want, you will be able to overcome the obstacle,” Hobbs said.

Former Head Coach Gillespie did not leave NECC on bad terms by any means; on the contrary, he actually went and ended up getting his dream job. He will now be coaching softball at Newburyport High School, which is in his hometown. He may also be teaching at the school at some point. Hobbs had only good things to say about her old coaching partner.

“Bob has taught me a few things. I would go with Bob recruiting to meet potential athletes, he taught me how to introduce yourself to the athlete and their family, and also how important it is to stay in contact with the athlete, even if they have already committed to NECC. Recruiting is a huge part of building a program. Without him we would not be where we are right now and with the athletes we have on our roster,” Hobbs said.

Over the two years Gillespie was head coach, the team had 4 wins and 17 losses. It was certainly because of a learning curve over a couple years that they lost so many games. Hobbs has high expectations for this year’s team, though.

“I have extremely high expectations for this season. We have a talented group of athletes that already have great chemistry off the field I cannot wait to see how they mesh on the field,” Hobbs said.
“I expect to win our conference, and believe we can make it to regionals with the talent, heart and endurance we have.”