The Maneater

Head Missouri softball coach becomes Hall of Famer at alma mater Westminster College

Ehren Earleywine played baseball three years at Westminster and then returned for six years as an assistant and head coach.

Maneater File Photo

Missouri softball head coach Ehren Earleywine was inducted into the Westminster College Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 30, along with five other former coaches and athletes. Earleywine played baseball at Westminster College for three years before returning as a coach.

“In his case, [Earleywine] got into our Hall of Fame because it was dual successes and not just specifically as a coach or as a player,” Westminster head athletic director Matt Mitchell said.

Earleywine played shortstop at Westminster for three years and graduated with a business degree in 1994. He returned to Westminster to be an assistant baseball coach under former Major League Baseball player Phil Bradley from 1994 to 1996.

“I fell in love with it immediately and learned so much from Phil about coaching, about baseball, about being a man — so many things he mentored me in, and I just fell in love with the profession,” Earleywine said.

Bradley left the program after the 1996 season. After three years of assistant coaching, Earleywine became the head coach at 24 years old.

“I looked younger than a lot of the players on my team. It was crazy, but it was the best training ground that I could have ever hoped for,” Earleywine said. “Not only working under Phil, but then when I became the head coach, I was by myself.”

The time at Westminster taught Earleywine coaching skills that he says have transferred to Mizzou softball, where he started coaching for the 2007 season. At Westminster he recalled having between 32 and 36 players per season but no assistant coaches and limited resources.

“It made me really resourceful, and it made me really good at organizing things,” Earleywine said. “Having come from Westminster and doing all those things alone makes me so much better now when I put together a practice because I have tons of ideas that now I can fulfill with all the help that I have.”

During Earleywine’s three years as head coach, Westminster baseball went 63-44 and won the conference tournament in 1999. Two of Earleywine’s former players, Chris Pemberton and Cory Roper, were also inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

“They were great players — and man, you talk about good people, too,” Earleywine said. “They’re five-star human beings as well.”

The six new inductees joined 38 others who had been previously inducted into the Hall of Fame at Westminster. Mitchell said that this year’s inductees influenced the athletic department at its infancy.

“This group really kinda began that, that foundation of making athletics a very visible, positive piece of our institution,” Mitchell said.

According to Mitchell, over 100 alumni were on campus for the Hall of Fame induction because the ceremony coincided with Westminster’s homecoming activities. According to Westminster’s website, the school has a total enrollment of approximately 1,000 students.

“That’s a pretty good amount for a school our size,” Mitchell said of the alumni attendance.

Earleywine has won six career coaching awards. He said that the difference between coaching men and women is less about the fundamentals of the game and more about the differences in personality.

“I guess I was just so naive. I just thought, ‘Well, you know, they’re human beings, and they all want to win, and they’re all competitive, you know — how could they be any different?’” Earleywine said. “And I learned in a hurry — there’s a major difference in between coaching men and women. Really, that’s probably been the most challenging part of what I do, but at the same time, it’s been a lot of fun.”

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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