Florida A&M University’s Lady Rattlers Softball team completed their season of exhibition fall ball Friday Morning with a special practice from coach Wiggins.
The Lady Rattlers competed against Schools such as Valdosta State, Tallahassee Community College and Florida Gulf Coast.
Coach Wiggins has expanded from an HBCU legend, to a softball coach icon. Wiggins is known as an intense coach, but also one who cares deeply for her players. Tuesday morning after several high endurance and skill drills, Wiggins told the players she had a surprise. From the dugout Wiggins could be seen walking swiftly with a big cardboard box. As the ladies stared puzzled, out Wiggins came with colorful kites, enough for each player. According to coach the ladies had one more challenge to end the fall season, get the kite flying by running.
During the event, an alumni player who played on the team from 2006-2012 said "This is what makes Coach Wiggins so special. This program so special. Some of these girls have never flown a kite in their life, something so small like that, can actually mean so much."
The gesture resonated on the faces of the girls as the intensity of the season fell off in the breeze. Within 15 minutes, Wiggins had gone from strict Coach, to an almost loving mother figure. The connection she shares with her staff and players has been a key ingredient in the formula she uses to win.
After practice Assistant Coach Orr spoke on how the team manages to not let success get to their head.
"We set new Goals. If we set out to win the MEAC and we do, that's not the end, we set our eyes right to the next level. The next goal." Orr said. "Coach is great and she brings the life to the team. But part of her intentions of building a young coaching staff is to bring energy, bring excitement, and to build a sense of family amongst the girls.
Coach Wiggins made HBCU history last season, winning her 700th career game. The Lady Rattlers have also won 4 straight MEAC championships under Wiggins. Even with 11 players leaving, and 10 new players coming in, Wiggins expects no slowing down.
FAMU will open their official spring season in February, and will be looking to move past their goal of a MEAC championship. Last season, the Lady Rattlers won the conference but fell against the University of Florida in back to back games in their post-season exit.