Beth Krysiak is entering her fourth year as the coach for the women’s softball team here at the University of Dallas. The softball team has racked up multiple program records with her leadership.
She received her B.S. and B.A. at Centenary College, while also playing for the women’s Division I softball program as a catcher. Not only is she a great leader for her players on the field with her experience, she also wants to help guide them to give back to the community and learn how to manage their time in preparation for their futures.
TF: This is your fourth year coaching softball at UD. How are you preparing for the upcoming spring season?
BK: We are really just focusing on ourselves. This is the year that we have a really big shot at doing a lot of really cool things, but we only have that chance if we focus on what we are doing everyday at practice and how we can become better day-in and day-out. The team has really done a great job thus far during our first week of the season.
TF: You played Division I softball at Centenary. Why did they change to become Division III?
BK: It was a money issue within the school. Our Division I conference was really spread out. For example, our closest school in conference was 10 hours away, making our travel budget outrageous. Not to mention, softball gave 12 full ride scholarships and we were fully funded. So that was part of the decision, the school had gotten into some debt and switching from DI to DIII was a way for the school to make some of that money back.
TF: Why did you choose to be a student-athlete during college?
BK: I don’t know that I knew anything else. I have played sports ever since I can remember and I loved every second of it. I actually asked my parents when I was in third grade, if I could quit school and just play sports. Obviously, that was not an option, so I knew that I wanted to enter the sports world when I went to college. I also majored in Health and Exercise Science, knowing that I wanted to stay around sports in some way and being a college athlete was just apart of that.
TF: While, you were in college you double majored with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Health and Exercise Science. How does your experience influence and help your girls be better student athletes at UD?
BK: We talk a lot about academics. We provide some quiet classroom time. I will reserve some classrooms on campus so that they know, “hey, if you need quiet study space, it is here for you.” We try and let them know that they need to be studying this amount of hours for the classes they are currently taking and the study space helps with that. And if you’re not spending enough hours in your books outside of class, then you are not going to be successful.
I am very big on communicating; if you communicate with me, practice can be flexible at times. One thing I give my athletes is a “flex day.” They are allowed to miss one spring practice for academic reasons, completely scot-free. Now it is only one, so they have to manage their time appropriately, but they usually use it during midterms week. The study sessions are not mandatory, but they are highly suggested.
TF: Jim Krysiak is the volunteer assistant coach for your softball team, but he is also your father. Why did you decide to work with family?
BK: He influenced my life so much in the world of softball. He started coaching me in softball at the age of ten. He watched a lot of videos to learn because he played baseball growing up, and it is a little different. When I went to college, I played for someone else for the first time, and when I came home for the summers I coached with him, as his assistant, for a travel ball program out of Houston.
When I got this job at UD, I did not have a full-time assistant and he offered his help since he was missing softball so much. We laid down a couple ground rules, like I’m the boss, even though you’re my dad kind of thing, but he does a really great job. I learned a lot about softball from him, so we are usually on the same page when coaching.
TF: You participate a lot in fundraising for breast cancer. Is that something you are passionate about?
BK: My godmother died of breast cancer, so that is definitely something that is on my heart. We have done a breast cancer game here before. There have definitely been some challenges with doing that, but previously at other schools, I would help run breast cancer games as well. It is definitely a big part of myself. If we could use the sport to give back, why wouldn’t we? When we did have the breast cancer game here, it was really cool to watch the players step up who had been so deeply affected by breast cancer as well. I did not have to do as much work as I anticipated, because they were so excited to give back as well.
The women’s softball team has their first home doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 4, with games at noon and 2 p.m. against Ottawa University.