Updated: Jan 7
By Tom Mauldin - 1/3/2020
Editor’s Note: Boyd will team with College of Idaho head coach Al Mendiola in summer of 2020 to host Fastpitch Northwest’s Idaho Prospect Evaluation Camps.
“I am delighted to work with Sabrina,” said Mendiola, Idaho State Director for Fastpich NW. “She was such a great competitor and person. It’ll be very worthwhile for prospects and I am going to enjoy having her on my team instead of having her pitching against my team.”
Sabrina Boyd’s Road Map to Success
If your goal is to play collegiate softball, Sabrina Boyd’s map to success would be a good one to chart. She has gone from high school standout to college standout to college coach. Her key in every step has been her work ethic and her love for her teammates and the game. To hear Boyd tell it, it’s easy to understand her road to success. It’s a love affair.
“It’s about the commitment, discipline and mental focus it takes (to compete at a high level),” said Boyd, who graduated with honors from Corban University in 2018 with a degree in accounting and a minor in criminal justice. “I started appreciating how fun it is at a young age. The whole team nine-on-one mentality … whole team versus the batter. And it teaches so many life skills.”
Boyd grew up as a multi-sport athlete and enjoyed the competition all sports offered. But softball was her love, especially pitching and the command needed to be successful. She loved being part of every play.
Like many coaches before her, Boyd said her coaches were a big factor in pursuing softball first as a player, then as a coach. “They had a huge impact on my life,” she said. “Softball was a perfect storm of competition for my competitiveness. And add in the people who believed in me…believed in me through the ups and down.”
It was coaches such as Bob Vandale who instilled a hard work ethic in her early years and Corban’s Abigail Farler who guided her when Boyd earned All-American honors twice at Corban. “Sabrina was one of the hardest working student athletes I ever coached,” said Farler, now head coach at Abilene Christian. “She had the determination and fight that you wish you could bottle up and give to everyone. Sabina would do whatever she needed to do on her own to make sure she was prepared to handle any opponent, task or competition she was going to face.”
While at Corban, Boyd helped lead the Warriors to two-straight NAIA National Tournaments. In 2018, she was 20-8 with a 1.76 ERA to go with 21 complete games and nine shutouts. She was named CCC Pitcher of the Year twice. Boyd leaves Corban as the softball record-holder in single-season innings pitched (202.1), single-season wins (23 in 2017), single-season appearances (36), single-season games started (32), single-season shutouts (9), career ERA (2.18), career innings pitched (497.2), career wins (54), career appearances (103), career games started (73), and career shutouts (17).
“In Sabrina's mind, no one would or could outwork her. Her teammates always knew that about her,” said Farler. “It's extremely powerful for a team to know that their pitcher is willing to wake up early or stay behind late at practice to get extra conditioning and reps in in order to be operating at their peak level. That's what made her such a great pitcher and leader. These are all the same traits that made her an excellent hire for Idaho State.”
Most of Boyd’s success at Corban came during her final two seasons when she won 43 times. She won 11 games combined her first two seasons.
She went from being the team’s number four pitcher with a 3-1 record in 24 innings as a sophomore in 2016 to 23-6 with a 1.73 ERA in 202 innings in 2017 as a junior.
What’s the secret to such a monumental turn around? Boyd said it was a couple things, including maturing and trying to figure out different ways to beat her opponent. She added, more hard work, more determination and never settled.
“I really think I started trusting my team and giving opportunities to show their abilities,” she said. “Everyone brings something different to the table and important for them to bring it. You can come to a potluck and everyone must bring food. Cherishing my teammates and not being afraid to trust them.”
The drive to succeed was noticeable when Boyd was a freshman at Pleasant Hill High School, a small Oregon public school. Her initial goal was to make varsity and learned what it would that take. “I realize I needed to know who am I competing against,” said Boyd. “When you take a day off, is your opponent taking a day off.” Boyd has never been one to “take a day off.”
The first-year Idaho State coach figures her on-field drive will help her as a coach.
“The initial drive to be competitive, to be great, to have fight, is a good thing. It’s not a bad urge… when utilized in sports it’s a good thing,“ Boyd said. “We are team … for us to rise up together becomes a motivation as a team.” That competitive drive and natural leadership led Corban to a combined 83 wins in Boyd’s final two seasons. The Warriors were 43-11 in the CCC and 40-17 against the rest of the country.
While the on-field successes were many, Boyd says not a day goes by that she doesn’t talk with one of her former Corban teammates. “My Corban teammates were my softball family. We were together through ups and downs, learning those life lessons,” said Boyd. “I learned a lot about myself. I also had more impacting coaches and teachers and other students at Corban. It was really a good environment for self growth and team growth.”
It was never hard work for Boyd, who simply says, “It’s easy to do something you love.”
Boyd learned from her mother, Julie, early to be a “giver, not a taker.” “Off the field, that’s the advice she gave me. My life path is how can I give and what are my strengths and how can I give back in this life. That has led me in the direction I am today,” she added.
When Boyd entered Corban as a freshman, she had mapped out her life path. Softball was a means to an end to help pay for school and her degrees. She was working for an education, but cherishing her softball time … and commitment to passion.” At one time, she had thoughts about an FBI career as a forensic accountant. Ironically, Idaho’s FBI headquarters are just a few miles from the ISU campus in Pocatello.
When she graduated from Corban, she stated her accounting career and enjoyed “how challenging” it was. But then came the call from newly-hired ISU coach Cristal Brown and the offer to coach college softball and her passion stirred again. “I am so honored to be coaching with Crystal and Randy (Clark, assistant coach),” said Boyd. “Learning how to communicate well to so many different learning styles and perspectives the way Cristal and Randy do. I can’t imaging starting my career anywhere else.”
Farler said Idaho State made a great hire. “She is going to be an extremely hard working coach who will go the extra mile to figure out how to help her players reach their potential,” said Farler. “She is an incredibly consistent, high energy person. You know what you're going to get every day with Sabrina. I'm so proud of all that she has accomplished so far but I now this is just the beginning for her.”
Boyd, who turned 24 on New Year’s Day, is learning the differences between being a player and a coach. Not surprisingly, her goal is to be an impactful coach, starting with communication. That combined with her love and passion for the game and her will to commit and be disciplined in her path to success. “I’m still learning about my (coaching) strengths. It’s important to know strengths and weaknesses and build on those,” she said. “And I am cherishing people for who they are.Softball has taught me most of my life lessons … teamwork and that comes with communication. Communicate with athletes and coaches. You must be committed to your goals. “Softball has taught me a lot about goals and friendships. It’s pushed me to learn more about the mental aspects of the game and pushing limits because I knew my team had my back, Softball has taught me about accountability.
Boyd’s short term goals are centered around ISU softball. “To strive for a successful season in whatever ways that might be and to be there for the athletes and learn as much as possible, soak it in… just learn.
Boyd’s long-term goal?
“I can’t really say … just keep learning and putting things in my tool kit and give my all in the present. Life will guide you to your passion.”
The first-year coach said the best part of coaching is the team, the girls. “Just being able to watch them grow and compete and fight,” said Boyd. “Seeing their love of the game and trying to figure out all the ways to benefit them.”
It’s easy to do something you love.