Phil McSpadden, head softball coach, was named National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics head softball coach of the year for the ninth time.
Since accepting the head coaching position at OCU 29 years ago, McSpadden has won eight national championships, an NAIA record. He is featured in four halls of fame and has won the coach of the year award from his conference and region. His record is composed of 1,562 wins and less than 350 losses.
“I’m not a numbers guy, so I can’t tell you the amount of awards or any exact records,” McSpadden said. “That’s not the reason I do it, and I only win those awards because the team is good.”
Relationships are the best part of the job, McSpadden said.
“You want to feel like you’ve got an impact on somebody’s life. Some of the players will tell you what they think or what impact you have, but they don’t always,” he said.
McSpadden played baseball in college while earning three business degrees. After graduation, he worked in a funeral home and coached high school baseball and softball before getting the call from OCU.
“I wanted to play baseball my whole life, but didn’t get enough from my personal career, so I started coaching,” McSpadden said. “I love the competition.”
OCU’s softball team won their ninth national championship last year.
“In a way, we’ve created a monster because now, if we don’t win, we’ve failed,” McSpadden said. “It’s not fair, but it’s expected. I don’t get a lot of joy out of winning anymore because it’s expected. I feel more hurt from losing than joy from winning.”
McSpadden said he is a temperamental coach who expects a lot out of his athletes. Off the field, his glass is half full, he said, but on the field, it’s half empty.
“I know I put a lot of pressure on my players, but I think I hold them accountable better than some,” McSpadden said. “When they come up short, that’s when I’m the most vocal, because I believe they can do better. I wouldn’t say anything if they couldn’t.”
McSpadden’s brothers also played baseball in college, but when they picked up tennis and golf, he consciously avoided a hobby.
“I wanted to focus on coaching, so I don’t really have hobbies,” he said. “Offseason, I recruit. I like what I do. Coaching is my hobby.”