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Introducing Melissa Finley, Swarthmore College Softball Head Coach

Introducing Melissa Finley, Swarthmore College Softball Head Coach

So I was born in Canada. Born and raised in London, Ontario and grew
up playing softball there. I played with the Canadian National Team from
about 2002 to 2005 and I think being able to play at that international level teaches
you the little nuances of the game, the little things here or there that you wouldn’t otherwise
pay attention to and I bring that to my coaching career. That’s something that I’ve been fortunate
enough to get back into by coaching with Team Canada this summer. It brings out that passion when everybody
around you is working toward, you know, making it to the Olympics. That kind of puts things into a whole new
perspective. I played at Princeton and loved the high academic
environment where I felt I had a balance where I could compete at the top level of athletics
while getting a Tier 1 education. When I went on to my coaching career I was
fortunate enough to work with Leslie King at Penn to start my career and I was there
for five years and then moved on to Colgate, again another high-academic institution, and
now I’m here at Swarthmore. I couldn’t be happier to continue the tradition
of working with high-academic athletes. I think it’s really important to know that
I’m working with athletes that want to excel in the classroom and on the field and have
the ability to be excellent in both. I had a lot of fantastic memories and a lot
involved my teammates, whether it’s just riding on the bus or on the field together, competing
together. One moment that really stands out to me is
when I was a freshman and we won the Ivy League title for the first time in I think five or
six years so the seniors hadn’t won it yet. We beat Brown that day and just to see the
seniors with tears streaming down their faces, I can still feel that day and that moment
today. We went on to the NCAA tournament that year
and did it two more times in my career so those are some fantastic memories, but that’s
the one that really stands out for me and set the winning tradition for that program. It’s mostly softball all the time. When it’s on ESPN, I’m watching it. I want to say hockey, but mostly playoff hockey. Really the Olympics, any time the Olympics
are on, I’ve got it on, no matter what sport. In my free time, I really enjoy cooking. It’s a hobby of mine so I’ve always got the
Food Network on when I’m trying to experiment with recipes. It usually works out pretty well, but I’ve
had a few flops here and there. I like to think that I’m pretty laid-back. It’s one of those things where I want to have
fun while I’m at softball. I think that it’s a sport for that reason,
but when it’s time to work hard and be serious, it’s time to work hard and be serious. I like having that balance and I like to push
and drive my athletes to be the best that they can be while also understanding that
they’re here to get an education first and foremost, to live that balanced life. When they come to softball, it’s time for
softball and it’s kind of their way to express themselves while they’re on the field. I’m looking forward to just getting to know
the team, working with them and building that trust and that foundation together, letting
them know my expectations and getting to work on the field, you know being out there and
enjoying each other’s company and working towards that common goal is really what I’m
looking forward to.

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