Dye-Gest Column: A Sport On the Rise

College Football Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye writes about his new interest in fast pitch college softball and Auburn's emergence in the sport.

Auburn sophomore third baseman Kasey Cooper, a first team All-American, makes a throw at softball's College World Series.

I never would have dreamed there would be this much interest in women’s college softball, but now that I am a fan of the sport it is easy to understand why its popularity is growing.

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The speed of the game along with the athletic ability and skill of the players make it an entertaining sport to watch. The game is tailor-made for television with the cameras being able to capture the passion of the players, coaches and fans who are so into the sport.

I think the SEC Network has helped create more interest in a variety of sports other than football and basketball. In my view the sport that has benefitted the most is softball.

The league has hired strong coaches and schools have made commitments to be nationally competitive in the sport. A perfect example of the point is that Auburn was one of five SEC teams to make the eight-team field at the College World Series in Oklahoma City this year.

It was really a lot of fun to watch the team Coach Clint Myers put on the field in just his second season at Auburn. The Tigers played with a lot of heart and a lot of skill. When you think about how close this group came to being able to play Michigan for the national championship this week that is truly impressive considering where the program was when Coach Myers arrived.

Last season the Tigers showed they were a team on the rise so I began following them early this year and got hooked. I grew to appreciate the athletic ability these young ladies have while being impressed with the pace of play in a game that calls for quick thinking and quick reactions. They have converted me into a big fan, for sure. However much time I have left in my life I know that I am going to enjoy watching college softball.

The popularity of the game is growing and I think it has a chance to really take off at Auburn and elsewhere. I know Auburn is looking at expanding its home ball park. I don’t know how many seats they are going to add, but they need to double it or more than double it because people are going to want to see what is taking place on that field. It’s too good not enjoy.

Everything about Auburn’s players in how they conduct themselves on and off the field makes you feel very good about this team representing the university because they stand for everything that is good about Auburn.

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