Karen Walker has joined the Firebirds as an advisor, to help guide our college recruiting efforts. Coach Walker brings an amazing track record of working with student athletes at the Mount Vernon Magic to further their softball careers at all levels of intercollegiate play.


July 3, 2018 - The Firebirds are pleased to announce that Paige Kelly and Grace Wilsey are the recipients of this year’s Randy Yates Memorial Firebirds Scholarships. Each of these former Firebirds has won an unrestricted scholarship to support them in college.

Kelly is a recent graduate of West Springfield High School. She will be attending St. John’s University this fall. A Firebird player for four years, Kelly continues to volunteer for the club, in addition to her volunteer work through the National Honor Society and Math Honor Society. Kelly says that, because of her Firebird family, “I not only became a much better softball player, but I also learned determination and developed my will to always want to work the hardest I can, no matter what.”

Wilsey graduated from Hayfield Secondary School. She played three years for the Firebirds and has been as active volunteer at her church’s hypothermia shelter and with Stop Hunger Now. She will attend the University of Virginia this fall. Of her former team, Wilsey says “To me, being a Firebird has always meant more off the field than on it…. We are Firebirds, all of us, a family.”

The scholarship is named for Coach Randy Yates, a former Firebirds coach and advisory who epitomized the spirit of sportsmanship and the love of the game. Kelly and Wilsey each played for him. Coach Yates passed away in 2017.


Part 2 of Coach Hanafin's article on College Recruiting: The Parents Role To the parents…let your player drive the process. 1. Learn the rules. Know what types of contact and actions are allowed at each age/year and stay up to date. Check out the NCAA recruiting website for helpful tips and calendars.

2. Have conversations with your daughter frequently about pros and cons of each school. They will need guidance on keeping an overall perspective and not only making a decision based on softball. Make sure they choose a school that they like regardless of softball. Coaches could leave, careers could end at any moment…make sure they envision themselves being at the school, not just being on the softball team.

3. Treat your daughters like they are adults. If they cannot handle the responsibility or pressure now, they will not be capable of doing it when they are truly on their own playing in college. Let them be independent and just be supportive – if they truly want to play at the next level then they put enough pressure on themselves; you do not need to add any. Help guide them by equipping them with the skills they need to stay organized, motivated, and positive throughout the process.

Check back soon for Part 3, The Coaches...


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