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Roadrunners Q&A with Amanda Lehotak

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 07/28/2011
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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SAN ANTONIO — On July 1, Amanda Lehotak officially became the fourth head coach in UTSA softball history after a successful run at Jacksonville. Lehotak recently sat down with to discuss her first month on the job.

You’ve been on the job for about a month now. What have these first few weeks been like?
“The first few weeks have been hectic. I’ve been getting to know the city, the team and the way things work around here but everyone has been very welcoming. The kids have been really receptive to me so far and many have taken a break from their summer to come back to meet me.”

What was one of your top priorities to address right away?
“My top priority was recruiting. Getting my name out in the Texas softball community was important along with getting in contact with some of the better summer programs. I just wanted to let them know I’m here and what we’re looking for and, in doing so, get our name out there on a bigger scale. I think it’s important to really go after the top programs in the state so the whole recruiting process has been my number one priority for the last three or four weeks.”

What are your plans for filling out the coaching staff?
“One spot was pretty easy to fill with Michelle Cheatham who is a great fit for me and this program. As a coach I’ve always wanted an alumnus on staff. I think that’s important for the traditions that past players create and then to have that contact and instant credibility with the alumni. I really want a staff that constantly looks to learn and evolve with the game. What really impressed me with Michelle, and one of the first things she said to me, was her desire to continue to learn and get better with the game. We share the same vision, not only for the program, but for the sport of softball in general. She’s been great already and I think we make a great combination.

"As for the final staff position, I’d like to bring in a pitching coach and try to go after a bigger name in the softball community that can bring instant credibility to our staff and help us recruit not only in the state but nationally. Overall I like multi-dimensional coaches that can teach all aspects of the game. Michelle fits that bill and I have no doubt that the final member of the staff will as well.”

Have you had a chance to meet with many of the players? If so, what were your impressions?
“I’ve met most of the team and the only ones I haven’t met live a little further away and haven’t been back to San Antonio this summer. I was happy to get a chance to meet some of the incoming freshman when they were on campus for orientation. My impressions are that this is an excited group that is ready to work hard. They’re excited for some new expectations and are looking forward to seeing what myself and the staff bring this fall.”

When you were hired you mentioned that you were excited to hit the recruiting trail. How has that gone so far and what kind of feedback do you get when you mention UTSA?
“The recruiting trail has gone better than I expected. I know some of the summer coaches already from interactions at my previous university. That’s helped and given me some instant credibility and even if the coaches don’t know me personally, I’ve emailed or talked on the phone with them before.

"When I say I’m from UTSA, the coaches that know me are excited I can recruit more of their kids now that I’m in-state. At Jacksonville we recruited a lot of Texas kids and brought them in on visits but ultimately, many players want to play close to home. Overall the feedback I’ve received has been very positive.”

How has the adjustment been from Florida to Texas?
“It’s hot! The humidity is not nearly as bad as Florida but there’s a lot more heat. I’ve been very happy with the food and need to start watching what I eat a little better. San Antonio is a great city with plenty to do and there’s so much to do in the surrounding cities too. For me, the city is a great fit. It’s so active and there’s always something to do.”

What was the greatest experience from your playing or coaching career career?
“I would say the greatest experience came last year as a coach by making an NCAA Regional, winning a game and then competing really well with defending champion UCLA. Even though we lost to UCLA in the opener we out-played them in several aspects of the game. It was the greatest experience because it was the first time I had a team that totally bought into the system to where they expected to win every game. They believed and trusted in one another and to watch them have that ‘light-bulb’ moment when they realized they could compete with anyone, despite the name on the front of the jersey, was amazing.”

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