Coleman headed to Blue Mountain
Karisa Coleman's signing to Blue Mountain College will be remembered as a big day for everyone involved, new and former coaches included.
For Coleman, the reasons were obvious. The stress of being recruited, the visits, looking, considering and trying out all eased away after signing on the dotted line with her four-year school located near Tupelo, Mississippi.
"I'm excited to finally have it done with and not have to worry about looking for another school," Coleman said. "It was stressful because I was planning on signing with a school from Illinois, but then I got a better offer from this school."
Coleman, who started in left field for Three Rivers and batted .305 with a .359 on-base percentage, said that she was also contacted by Williams Baptist about a month before signing.
The Eagles were largely set on numbers and invited Coleman to try out for the team.
Around the same time, Williams Baptist assistant coach Tyler Herring was hired as the new head coach at Blue Mountain and saw an opportunity to recruit Coleman.
"The biggest thing is her personality. Great kid, and you want to have great kids in your program," Herring said. "First and foremost, she's got a lot of speed and speed is kind of what I build my team around. We can be very competitive with speed."
Coleman was the first player Herring recruited and signed as a head coach.
"This is a big day for me and I'll always remember it," Herring said.
Coleman was quick to highlight the perks of a bigger school among the things she liked about Blue Mountain College, which is entering its sixth season of having a softball program.
"It's not too big, but it is bigger than Three Rivers. I just liked how the food is seven days a week," said Coleman about the cafeteria and the hamburgers she looks forward to eating. "It is more open and just bigger and nicer. I like Three Rivers, but I'm excited to venture off."
Three Rivers coach Jack Childress had mixed emotions about losing an anchor in the outfield and a player he's known for many years.
"It's good and bad. I'm glad for her. We've got some shoes to fill there. She did an awful good job," Childress said. "Somebody is going to have to step up and be able to tell people, 'Hey you can't do that' or 'Coach don't know the signs either. Don't worry about it.'"
Coleman, who also went to Poplar Bluff high school, improved her defense dramatically between her freshman and sophomore seasons and made a diving catch in the Region XVI tournament. She had a .871 fielding percentage last season and played in all but one game.
"She was a leader, a natural born leader. She really did, as far as I knew, the right things," Childress said. "I'm so proud of her it is unreal. On the field and off the field, it is going to be some shoes to fill."