FULLERTON, Calif. – With the Titan Softball program set to host their annual alumni slow-pitch game and the Leadoff Social dinner on Saturday, January 27th, we take a look at some of our former Titans who are now giving back to the sport of softball.
This week we focus on Pam Newton and Ashley Carter, who have a long history together.
Pam Newton is currently the Capital Programs and Facilities Service Manager at Cal State Fullerton and continues to serve as a consultant for teams all over Southern California as well. In her coaching career, she has spent time coaching at Katella High School, Pasadena City College, Concordia University, a lot of time as the Co-Director and Head Coach of the California Lite Softball Organization (previously Flash D' Gold), and of course, a couple years as the Volunteer Assistant Coach at Cal State Fullerton.
"I remember when I was practicing at a local high school with my dad shortly after I finished playing at Fullerton, we came across this team of young girls practicing," Newton reminisced. "The gentleman that was helping them ran over to us and was wondering if I would talk to his girls. He said this group of girls came from homes with gangbanger family members, their houses get shot up at night, and they sleep on the floor so they could really use some inspiration. So I talked to them about my career and how I got to softball and how it can help them. And at the end of the conversation, the coach said 'we practice tomorrow right here, we'll see you then.' I told him I wasn't interested in coaching since I was still playing, but my dad said 'you will be here; somebody else needs the information you have and you're going to give back' and I haven't stopped coaching since."
Newton and fellow alumna Chenita Rodgers ran a travel ball program together for around 20 years and Newton continued to run it for 10 more years after Rodgers moved away. In all those years, most of the girls that went through the program went on to play at the college level which speaks volumes of the impact she had on her athletes. She also coached internationally earning a gold medal in 2000 and a silver medal in 2003 coaching the U.S.A. Junior National Team. She was named Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee in both years.
"For the bulk of my life, I played for my parents so I lived in a house of coaches so that's really what I knew and grew up on," said Newton. "And my love for teaching really came to me from the youth camps Judi Garman had us run. She put me in charge of the overnight dorms and I would supervise all the athletes and staff every night we held camps. That's where my love for clinics and camps came from and I started my own personal clinic and camp business because of it after I finished playing at Fullerton."
In all of her years of coaching the travel ball team, she had a lot of girls go through her program that would go on to play here at Cal State Fullerton. Among that long list of athletes was Ashley Carter. "Ashley was the type of kid that worked and worked to get better and please her coaches; she was one of the hardest working athletes I've ever coached," Newton described. "When players came out to practice to try out for a position on our team, as coaches we would have them compete with Ashley and others for the spot. And Ashley Carter won every single contest I ever put her up against. The other person may have been faster or had a better arm, but nobody would outwork her and nobody could take her spot from her."
In her playing career at Fullerton (1982-83), Newton helped the team win back-to-back conferences as well as win the NCAA Regionals they appeared in earning All-Region and All-League honors in 1982 and named to the All-CWS Tournament Team in 1983. Overall, the '82 team finished third nationally and the '83 team were runner-ups nationally.
Ashley Carter will be entering her fourth year on the Slippery Rock University coaching staff. She currently serves as an Assistant Coach under head coach Stacey Rice. After graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 2013, she played a year in the National Pro Fastpitch for the Pennsylvania Rebellion and was named the top assistant coach at Slippery Rock in the fall of 2014. She has also coached internationally as she was selected as an assistant coach for Ireland's National Team in April of 2016 where they competed in the World Softball Championships.
"I never planned on coaching at first, but when I got the offer to coach at Slippery Rock, I figured I would see how it was since I wasn't sure what I wanted to do," Carter explained. "After my first year, I fell in love with it. Watching the players grow and progress, it's like I'm playing through them in a way. It's an amazing feeling."
In her time at SRU, Carter has helped lead The Rock to a 52-70 record. In 2016, she helped guide the team to a 20-23 record and earn a spot in the PSAC Tournament for the first time since 2009. The 20 wins was the most SRU has had since 2010. She has seen ten of her players earn All-PSAC Western Division honors in her three years at the Rock and the 52 wins she's accumulated are the most in any three-year span in the program's 41-year history.
Carter went on to say, "seeing the girls' drive and motivation really keeps me going. I want to give back and do whatever I can to help the game that has given me so much. I'm a truly giving person and I want to help these athletes be better not just on the field, but in life."
Before joining the Titans, Carter was coached by fellow alumna Pam Newton starting back in travel ball when she was 13-14 years old. "Pam really changed my whole perspective on the game and became my main guidance when it came to how I played," said Carter. "She drove me to be the best athlete I could be and I can honestly say I would not be who I am today without her. She instilled a drive in me that really made me a better athlete on the field and a better person off it."
As a Titan (2010-13), Ashley Carter recorded team-highs in hits, batting average, runs scored, extra base hits, and stolen bases. She earned Big West honors twice, an Honorable Mention in her sophomore season and First Team honors in her junior season. She currently ranks fourth all-time in triples and in the top 15 in fielding percentage.
The alumni game will be played January 27 at 1:00 p.m. at Anderson Family Field followed by the Leadoff Social dinner at 4:00 p.m.
If you or anyone you know is a Cal State Fullerton alumni and is continuing to give back to the game of softball by coaching, giving private lessons, or running camps/clinics contact Collin Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Head Coach Kelly Ford (email@example.com) so we can share your story.
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