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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
No. 13 A&M upsets No. 5 Virginia in dominant fashion, 4-1
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The Battalion May 4, 2024

Turning up the heat

Graphic courtesy of Pranay Dhoopar
Trisha Ford

Stepping into a program as a new head coach isn’t an easy task by any means. It’s even more difficult filling the shoes of someone who spent a quarter of a century building a program from the ground up.
Despite Aggieland being rooted in tradition, change can be a welcome thing and there is no one better to bring life into this program than veteran coach Trisha Ford. From her small beginnings as a softball player at Saint Mary’s College to leading the Arizona State Sun Devils to one of its most successful stints in history, Ford is no stranger to success.
Leaving the “Grand Canyon” state wasn’t an easy decision, but the support she found from the athletic department played a huge role in her decision to come to College Station, Ford said.
“I think coaches are super competitive and always want to go to places where they’re going to have the support to win and execute your plan that you have to be successful,” Ford said. “When I came here and was fortunate enough to meet with Ross [Bjork], Kristen [Brown] and Jeff Toole, our visions of what our program would look like really aligned. For me to see the stadium and commitment from Texas A&M and the 12th Man of their athletic program — and it’s not just softball, it’s every facility here — that was really exciting.”
In addition to the support, her love for the game of softball and desire to improve recruiting prospects ultimately led to Ford calling Davis Diamond her home, she said.
“I love softball and I’m fanatical about softball, so I want to be in a place that loves softball and it’s as important as it is to me,” Ford said. “You don’t ever as a coach want to go somewhere where they have great facilities and they support you, but you can’t get anybody there. I think when you think about Texas A&M and the traditions and just the brand that they have across the nation, I felt very strong that we could make this work.”
From the moment Ford stepped foot in College Station, she felt that she had found the best of two worlds with the town’s small-community feel, Ford said.
“Throughout your career, you go to different places,” Ford said. “When I took the ASU job, I told my husband I had one more move in me and I always said that I really missed Fresno State. It was a small town community and I really enjoyed that. I always said I wished I could take Fresno State and put it in big-time athletics. [It’s] not that it’s small, but it’s different. I felt like when I came to College Station, I had the best of two worlds. It was that small community feeling where I feel like I’m a part of something, but the big-time athletics and that support. That, for me, was really what clicked of this is where I’m supposed to be.”
With this small community comes passion and high expectations, which are only heightened with the idea of a first-year coach. However, the team’s work ethic is her primary focus, Ford said.
“I am not an expectation person and my teams aren’t either,” Ford said. “My thing is ‘Let’s put our heads down and work, work, work.’ My team from last year will tell you the same thing. I was like ‘Put your head down and let’s work. Don’t worry about anything.’ I feel like those types of teams really find a way to grind through the season.”
Ford’s mindset has quickly made its way throughout the entire program, senior outfielder Star Ferguson said.
“This is what she says all the time, ‘You’re a senior and your job is to have fun and enjoy your last year,’” Ferguson said. “That’s been her main focus, not being stressed out about the season and how to get the team together. Just enjoy yourself and everything will flow.”
With several seniors on the team, the transition has been daunting but welcomed, senior pitcher Shaylee Ackerman said.
“It was very nerve wracking at the beginning not knowing who we were getting,” Ackerman said. “Once we found out who it was, I had a lot of people reach out to me and all I could hear was good things from everyone. It was scary at the beginning, but it was exciting for a new change.”
The changes Ford has brought are more than just what can be seen on the field; it runs deep throughout the entire team and staff, Ferguson said.
“The type of environment that we have this year is definitely different,” Ferguson said. “It’s more family-oriented and you can really tell that we’re working as a team with the coaches as well. Everything we’re doing they’re doing as well. They’re really just showing that we’re all a team and that we’re all working towards a bigger goal.”
The goal for this season is more than just winning; it’s bringing this team together to have fun and compete, Ford said.
“My teams tend to be a little sassy and they like to have fun,” Ford said. “We play the game hard and we’ll play it right, but we’re going to get after it. I just want us to compete our tails off. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I just want us to come out every game and expect to win.”
With her mindset, a shift of culture has made its way to Aggieland with Ford’s coaching style, Ackerman said.
“It’s completely different from beforehand where it was kind of chill and everything was a little more easy going,” Ackerman said. “Every day we’re all coming out to compete and everyday is a competition. We’re expected to work hard and bust our butts. She is very motherlike to us and she treats us like one of her own. She’s very loving and she wants the best for us always, but she’s going to push us to get to where we can be.”
With this being Ford’s first year as head coach for A&M, as well as her first time competing in the SEC, mistakes are acceptable but accountability is necessary, Ford said.
“Coaching is coaching and I feel like no matter where you’re at, that piece of that is always that same feel and process,” Ford said.“Obviously, learning how things are done here at A&M is a process and it’ll take me a year. I’ve already had some mistakes and I’ll continue to make mistakes, and I think that’s important for our players to see that because at the end of the day, I want them to own their mistakes.”
It is no secret A&M is rich with tradition that can sometimes be overwhelming for outsiders. However, the tradition did nothing but bring excitement, Ford said.
“I love tradition and I just feel like I’m a good fit here,” Ford said. “That stuff doesn’t scare me and Monty and Becky Davis helped me the most. They were like ‘Okay, listen. It’s going to feel like this. If you’re one of us, you’re going to love it. If you are not one of us, you don’t understand it and you think we’re crazy.’ I do love that and I love the military background so I feel like I’m a good fit. You’re correct, it’s not a fit for everybody and I’m sure they had so many people to choose from and Ross [Bjork] would probably say that you have to find somebody who fits here. It’s not just ‘Who can we get?’, it’s going to be who’s going to be successful here. I hope that’s me.”
Being a coach is more than just making plays and running practice, it’s shaping young women and molding them into the best person they can be, Ford said.
“I hope that I bring some fire,” Ford said. “I always say that I was put on this earth — and I use softball as the avenue — but I was really put on this earth to help shape strong women in a very pivotal time. I take that with a lot of honor and I know I’m not a coach for everybody, I’m not a good fit for everybody. I would say I’m a player’s coach and I enjoy this age. I enjoy the ups and downs of this age, but I really think it helps set the foundation for adulthood.”
With a tough schedule and even tougher task of being a first-year coach, everything she has learned to curate her work ethic and success comes down to her childhood and family, Ford said.
“We definitely grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but I had one of the best childhoods ever and my parents provided that,” Ford said. “What my parents have instilled in me and how they have grown our family to have successful kids who now are going to create that same environment for my kids. I think that’s where my motivation really comes from — making them proud.”

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