New coach, New culture

Shellie Robinson takes over as Stetson University softball’s new head coach

With the hire of Shellie Robinson as the new head softball coach for Stetson University, players are already speaking up about how the new culture is instilling a fresh sense of confidence in the program distinct from previous years. 


Coach Shellie Robinson is now Stetson softball’s seventh head coach, after serving as assistant coach for the team for the past two years.


“Coach Robinson has utmost confidence in us,” said catcher Nikki Steiniger ’23.  


“It’s a better environment all around,” said catcher Jordyn Stanfill ’24. “The coaches are much more hands-on and invested in the team and making sure we are as close as we can.”


The theme of the year for the softball team is being tightly knit together as one.


“Our whole theme this year is being like a family, meaning we are involved in all things at all times regarding the team, and by doing that, we have done events within the community to get tighter as a team and make a difference for people,” said Steiniger. “We’ve also gone to other teams’ sports games to show our support, so not only are we able to watch other Stetson athletes compete, we are also all being together in the same place and cheering for a common goal outside of Softball.” 


While the day-to-day schedule has not changed much for the players, the program has more impact and meaning versus previous years.


“At the moment we only have one assistant coach, but at this point our head coach is more involved rather than letting the assistant coaches run practice for her, so Coach Robinson is there for almost all individual practice and meetings,” said Steiniger.


Players also believe that individual exercises this season are more beneficial than previous years.


“I also feel like we’re getting more out of individual practices than last year. They are only thirty minutes and in previous years they really felt like getting it done to get it done, but this year they feel like they have more meaning and purpose and I feel personally I’m getting a lot more out of them,” said third baseman/outfielder Ashlyn Prewitt ’24. “The individuals are a lot more structured. Last year it was more just hitting the whole time, but now the plans really feel more individualized and have more purpose.”


The new sense of confidence and positivity is a recurring theme throughout the team as well: “We feel 100% more confident going into this season than last year,” said Prewitt.


 “It’s more of the fact that our coach is more hands-on and involved. Coach Robinson truly believes in us,” said Steiniger. “We know she’s going to put the hardest working players out on the field for game day, and that she actually sees things for what they are. Our coach last year, he was much more hands-off, so he didn’t see every aspect of the players and practice as a whole the way Coach Robinson does. She’s much more aware and involved,” said Steiniger.


While still early into the year and practices, the players are waiting and seeing if all the extra preparation is paying off.


“I don’t know right now if anything could be handled differently, at least not off the top of my head,” said Stanfill. “We’ll see later on when we’re together practicing every day together, we’ll see.”


The team is being as productive as they can in their approved timeline.


“Right now, by NCAA regulation, we are only allotted eight hours a week we each can practice with the team, but after a certain amount of time we can go to twenty hours for a period of time before the season starts,” said Steiniger. 


Despite the culture change and new staff, Stetson softball still appreciates the previous staff and their contributions.


“We still have a great amount of respect for our old coach, and we think he did a great job with what he had. We appreciate all the opportunities he gave us,” said Steiniger.


“He built this program from the ground up and we have and always will have tremendous respect for him,” said Stanfill.