The first recruiting story is that of Kelly Kretschman, one of the game’s all-time greatest hitters and 2015 National Pro Fastpitch Most Outstanding Player. Kelly helped set the foundation for a young Alabama softball program during her time there from 1998-2001. The Olympian left Alabama as the all-time leader in homeruns, batting average, hits, RBIs, slugging percentage and countless other offensive categories. She helped take Alabama to their first ever Women’s College World Series appearance. Her journey to Alabama began in 1996.
Athlete: Kelly Kretschman
Alma Mater: University of Alabama, 2001
Year you committed: 1996-1997
How old were you when you committed: 16
How many official visits did you take? 3
How many unofficial visits did you take? 0
Did you make a recruiting video? Yes
How old were you when you first learned/thought about playing getting a scholarship to play in college?
KK: I was going into my sophomore year of high school and it wasn’t until after the 1996 Olympics that I even thought about playing softball at all. I played baseball up until then.
When did you first start getting serious about the recruiting process? Explain the steps you took (videos/emailing coaches/camps/tournaments/showcases/visits).
KK: I didn’t really understand the recruiting process until the summer of my sophomore year when I joined my first travel ball team. I went to one camp which was the Florida State softball camp that summer. I continued to play travel ball and was fortunate enough to switch to a better travel ball team which played in better tournaments where college coaches came to. The three big tournaments when I played were the Colorado fireworks tournament, South Carolina Dynamites tournament and Gold Nationals. I played every sport in high school. I sent letters to every single college I thought I would be interested in for every sport. I also made a video for softball only. I was recruited to play soccer, basketball and softball in college. I only went of my softball visits though.
Describe how you committed to your school (include years).
KK: I committed to Alabama after taking my last visit to LSU. It was a really hard choice between the two. I was going to play both soccer and softball at LSU if I had gone there. But there was just something about Alabama that I couldn’t get past. I loved the coaching staff and girls. Guess you could say I felt like I was born to say ROLL TIDE!!! I remember calling the other schools that I was recruited by to tell them I wasn’t going to go to their school. I was a very shy kid so this was extremely difficult for me. Then I made my last call to Patrick Murphy who was at the time one of the assistant coaches at Alabama. He was the main coach there that recruited me. I remember telling him that I had made my decision about what school I wanted to go to. I told him that I was sorry that I had chosen to go to another school. There was dead silence on the phone. Then I said just kidding and I think he might have yelled a little out loud. He said he was going to get me back for do that to him!
[From Alabama Head Coach Patrick Murphy: Kelly was recruited HARD by me and the other Bama coaches. When she called me in early November of her SENIOR year in high school, I was nervous as hell. She could make or break our program. This is what she said:
“My parents and I have talked to it over and we have settled on a school. We really think that I need to concentrate on getting my grades up in college so I am going to attend a junior college here in Florida.” I immediately fell on a chair … and then said, “Ok.”
She said, “Nah, I’m just kidding. I’m coming to Alabama.”
I’m still working on getting her back for that.]
What happened from the time you committed to the time you stepped on campus?
KK: Not much happened from the time I committed to when I stepped on campus. I played one more summer of travel ball and then was off to school. I went and watched the team play once. It was the first year of the programs history. My freshman year was the second.
Looking back on your recruiting story, what stands out the most?
KK: The thing that stands out to me the most was how blind I was to the whole process. Also that I really didn’t have a clue on what sport I really wanted to play. I am also glad that I made the decision that my gut was telling me to do. I am just glad that I was getting to make the decision when I was starting my senior year and not how it is these days.