Kyle Spencer, Sports Editor, @kyledspencer
Establishing a program that is not only successful, but also able to supersede its previous achievements on an annual basis is every coach’s hope. The past two seasons, UVU softball has topped its win total from the previous season, yet after each of the past two seasons it has also lost its head coach. New head coach Nikki Palmer looks to maintain the pattern of arriving at higher levels of success previously unimagined, while lending stability to a position that has lately resembled a revolving door.
“Coach Palmer has all of the qualifications,” said incoming UVU athletic director Vince Otoupal. “I just sent her an email congratulating her and welcoming her to Wolverine athletics. We want to go to the national championship and she knows how to get there.”
Palmer has the benefit of already being acquainted with UVU softball, having spent the past five years as an assistant coach, three of which were in Utah. Palmer focused her efforts as an assistant at Utah State on working with the outfielders and creating a system to meticulously track and organize recruiting.
Her next stint as an assistant coach at Weber State allowed her to compete against the Wolverines in the PCSC during the 2012 campaign. In Weber, she shifted her focus to training the team to execute offensively which helped lead the Wildcats to a second place PCSC finish.
“UVU is like a giant,” said coach Palmer. “There are so many good things going on. With the new athletic director coming in and the program having success in the past, it’s just waiting to erupt there and I really wanted to be a part of that. It felt really good when I came on campus for my interview and I felt at home right away. I knew it was the perfect fit.”
Having played softball at UC San Diego, Palmer contributed to her team reaching the regionals of the 2008 NCAA Division II tournament. Her expectations are set just as high for the lady Wolverine team that she now leads.
“It is a strong tradition of winning [at UVU],” Palmer said. “It is going to be my job to come in and put them to work right away and make sure that we continue that success and shoot for the top of the WAC, if not a WAC championship. My assessment of the team based on playing them is that they’re talented and I know that there is more talent coming in.”
The PCSC also noticed and publicly recognized the talent level of the UVU softball team this past year, naming a total of seven Wolverines to the all-conference teams. Four of those players return next year and with Palmer’s proven knack for recruiting, as well as her ability to help talented players fine-tune their skills, the sky is the limit for Wolverine softball team in seasons to come.