5 Things You Need to Know About... Patty Gasso
Entering her 25th season at the University of Oklahoma, National Fastpitch Coaches Hall of Fame head coach Patty Gasso has molded the OU softball program into a national power and permanently placed herself among the elite college softball coaches in the country.
Oklahoma has earned four national championships, winning in 2000, 2013, 2016 and most recently in 2017. OU is one of just three programs in NCAA history to win more than two national titles. She's reached the Women's College World Series 12 times during her tenure, and in the process, advanced to the postseason in each of her 24 seasons.
Is she the best coach in the history of Oklahoma softball? Undoubtedly.
And, here are 5 Things You Need to Know About…Coach Patty Gasso
Twenty-five years as the head coach of the University of Oklahoma softball team. Four national championships and one of only three schools in the country that has won more than two national titles. A program that is phenomenally successful. What has been the key to that success?
I think consistency; consistency and our style, our expectations, the way we practice, the way we travel, the way we compete. To me, the most important thing is consistency. It’s who we are.
You’ve coached some of the all-time greats in college softball. Keilani Ricketts, Lauren Chamberlain, Jessica Shults and so many more. What do those players have in common that accounts for their greatness?
They have really good work habits, so they do a lot of things on their own to master their craft so to speak. They have an intense desire to win. They have an intense desire to be great, the best, and they have a really good idea of who they are, so they don’t get rattled very often. They maintain their confidence pretty well, even in the tough times. I think their style of balance and knowing the ups and downs in the sport and being mature enough to know how to handle that. For example, Lauren Chamberlain might strike out twice and you would never know it, you wouldn’t know it by her attitude or anything. But, one thing I know is that you’ll never get her again. She has that “give them credit when they beat you, but you’re not going to do it again” kind of attitude.
From a personal perspective, what motivates you to continue to come to the stadium every day after 25 years and four national titles?
No doubt these athletes. I love to help them. I think they come in as girls and I want to send them out as women, so that they’re confident and they’re standing alone, they’re not needing someone to help them through every little situation. I just like to watch their growth as females. If they’re interested, I also like to share faith with them if that’s something that they’re searching for. A lot of things I talk about don’t have to do with the softball field. What makes me happy is to see and help them get on the path for their future. I also love competition, and I love to watch them get better. I love to watch it show up at practice or show up in games. I love to see them come together because they’re very powerful when they do, and their mentality is no one can beat us and it’s fun to watch that come into action.
You’re not the only Gasso on the coaching staff. How much does it mean to you to get to coach with your sons, JT and DJ?
When I was first here, they were very, very young, and my first 10 years here I just had a very difficult time feeling like I was a good mother if I was spending all my time at the field and talking to recruits every night. My kids used to read to me! I would try to read them bedtime stories and I would fall asleep before they did, so they would really start reading to me. It was just long days and I was exhausted, and I felt that I just wasn’t doing a good job. And I remember one day, asking my kids, “What if I just didn’t do this anymore, what if I did something different, what if I could spend more time with you?” They said, “Why would you do that? Don’t do that. This is who you are. This is where you belong, and we love that we’re a part of you.” When they gave me that affirmation, I knew that I could keep doing this, but now the full circle is that they are in the dugout right by my side. So, it’s been a long road but the way it turned out has been beyond my wildest dreams.
The bats and balls are put away. Season is over. Recruiting has slowed. What do you most enjoy away from Sooner softball?
I like being out by the pool. I like my dogs around me, or I like going on vacation where it’s just very relaxing and stress free. I think that’s what I need to do and that’s what I appreciate, time to destress and just try to relax for a little bit so wherever that is, I’ll take it!