Change in the world of sports can often be scary and hard to swallow especially when it follows success. The ADM High School softball program experienced such a change following their second place finish in the 2018 Iowa High School state softball tournament.
After 42 total years at the high school level, famed coach Rick Dillinger departed the likes of ADM High School following his fifth year with the Tigers. He departed to become an assistant coach for the University of Iowa softball program. That left the Tiger softball program without the likes of a 1,174 game winner and 2016 IGHSAU Gold Plaque Award winner. Certainly rather scary waters for the ADM softball program coming off of arguably one of their greatest seasons in school history with their 13th ever state tournament appearance.
Then, among all the scary uncertainty, came a very calming moment when ADM Activities Director Reece Satre and ADM schools hired the likes of long time player and umpire Jodi Doty to be the next head softball coach at ADM High School. Doty, a former Urbandale High School, Western Community College, and University of Missouri Kansas City product, has been well received within the ranks of ADM High School, starting with Reece Satre himself.
“We’re excited to have Jodi Doty joining us at ADM,” began Reece in a press release statement. “She has a passion for not just the game of softball, but an emphasis on developing athletes who are multi-sport participants throughout their careers at ADM. The desire to continue building on the progress already in place at ADM was evident from Jodi during the interview process. She’s excited to get started and begin building relationships with kids.”
While some may still be worried about the loss of over 1,000 career wins of Rick Dillinger, the addition of Doty brings an extra layer of calm given the fact that she has endured success at nearly every level of softball. From a state tournament berth as a J-Hawk to national notoriety as a UMKC Kangaroo in college, Doty has not only seen the different levels of softball, but what it takes to succeed within every rung of the success ladder.
Doty, a current Waukee resident, found herself very honored and excited after being the newest to join the head coaching ranks at ADM High School as she endures her first ever stint as a head coach.
“I’m extremely excited to be a part of a great softball tradition here at ADM High School,” began Doty. “With this being my first true test as a high school head softball coach, there’s plenty of nerves but the simple fact that I was chosen to continue on the great legacy here means a lot to me and I’m honored. I fully intend on bringing this team back to Fort Dodge and helping to mold these girls into not just great softball players, but great people overall.”
Along with her playing experience, Doty also brings with her a sound knowledge of the rules after several years as a high school and collegiate softball umpire in which she didn’t just participate, but thrived in. For her outstanding efforts behind the plate, Doty was selected to umpire at the Iowa High School State tournament not once but twice during her umpiring tenure. Those two stints came back in 2016 and more recently, a trip to last year’s state tournament as well. The opportunity to be involved in the state tournament is often just as exciting for the umpires as it is the players and coaches, and it was something coach Doty won’t soon forget.
“Getting the chance to umpire the state tournament last year was definitely a milestone that I will never forget,” started Doty. “I got the chance to be around the best teams in the state and watch the highest quality softball in the state. To be a part of that and great moments that will be remembered for years to come is such an honor for me and it was such an honoring experience.”
Now Doty will check another first off of her list as a first time member to the head coaching ranks, an event that finalized what was a perfect alignment for Doty.
“It all started with a simple question with friends and family regarding my interest in actually coaching instead of umpiring,” began Doty. “Thoughts of coaching didn’t intensify until late this past summer. I’ve always had a passion for the sport and I’m also very passionate about the development of student-athletes and coaching seemed to be the perfect combination of both. The timing also really helped out. For the longest time it didn’t seem right to basically ask my husband to be a single parent throughout the summer months as I take on a coaching position but now that our two daughters are more grown up, it seemed like a good time.”
Next on the alignment list was the perfect position to open up and then came the ADM head coaching position.
“I knew I didn’t just simply want to get into just any coaching position, but the right fit for me and my family,” said Doty. “When I heard about Rick Dillinger leaving to coach at the University of Iowa, I knew right away that I had to apply. The thing is, while there were other head coaching positions available throughout the area, the only position I wanted to apply for was here at ADM. The culture, the community, and the atmosphere surrounding softball here is so amazing and really was the only fit for me. If I didn’t get this position then I would not have been coaching softball in 2019. It’s the perfect position for not just myself, but for my family as well.”
Doty also credits the likes of Rick Dillinger for helping give interest in the open position at ADM and one of the critical reasons why ADM was the only choice for her.
“Every time I umpired a game which ADM was a part of, Rick always provided me and the other umpires with the utmost respect,” began Doty. “Every coach will have a point in a game that they disagree with a call umpires make but Rick was always professional and polite, regardless of how the fan base may have reacted. I personally enjoyed and looked forward to every time I umpired a game at ADM High School. It’s that culture set forth by Rick Dillinger that helped bring me to apply for the position and its that same culture that I look forward to continuing.”
Within the perfect position Doty has found herself in, the former officiate feels her past experiences as an umpire provides her with unique skills heading into the 2019 campaign.
“I feel that my umpiring background will provide me with a big boost this season,” started Doty. “As odd as it sounds, the biggest thing I took away from umpiring that will help me as a coach is the full understanding of the rules. As a player and even coach, you think you know all of the rules and how to navigate them but that’s not usually the case. The job of a player is to play and the job of a coach is to coach and a full focus on the rule book isn’t a main focus for players and coaches.”
Doty continued talking about her umpiring days and how what she’s witnessed can also help out.
“As an umpire I’ve also seen a lot of teams play and I’ve gotten to see what has consistently worked and what has not worked for a number of successful teams,” said Doty. “I’ve taken bits and pieces away from what the most successful teams have done and I feel I can incorporate some of those successful pieces into my coaching style.”
Overall, Doty is extremely excited to be the newest ring leader of ADM softball not just because of the position itself, but of what she will help to continue.
“It’s amazing to think that the team graduates just one senior from last year and was one of, if not the youngest team at the state tournament with so much success,” started Doty. “I’m excited to coach such a young team that knows the ins and outs of being a state tournament worthy team at the varsity level. There’s a certain knowledge that comes with being so successful and it helps me as a coach knowing that I won’t have to focus so much on the fundamentals and more on some advanced things. It’s a winning culture here and I’m extremely excited to be a part of it.”
Coach Doty and the Lady Tigers will look to embark upon a new season together which will begin with first practices around the second week of May with first competition occurring near the third week of May, 2019.