WHO: No. 24 USF (37-13, 15-2) at Seton Hall (16-24, 4-10)
WHEN: Tuesday’s doubleheader begins at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Mike Sheppard Sr. Field, South Orange, N.J.
SERIES HISTORY: USF leads, 15-3
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – Ken Eriksen has seen quite a bit since he first slipped on a USF uniform back in the early 1980s.
The walk-on from Stony Brook, N.Y., made a name for himself on the baseball field before making his biggest impact on the program through the game of softball. Jump in a time machine and head back to 1997 and you’d find Eriksen, a former USF assistant, leading the Bulls to his first win as head coach while current assistant Monica Triner highlighted the extra-inning affair at Stetson with her work in the pitcher’s circle.
Hit fast-forward to Sunday and you’d find Eriksen, still wearing his school colors, as he arrived at a milestone only one other USF coach has reached with the program – 731 victories – when USF got past DePaul, 4-3, in 13 innings.
“It was a nice way to tie the situation because DePaul is very, very good team,” Eriksen said. “With those historical numbers, you like to see a really competitive name on the other side of that storyline.”
Eriksen also was quick to point out that he’s proud to be a part of a ton of other wins while wearing a Bulls uniform.
“When you think about it, from the time I was a student-athlete, to an assistant coach to now you’re talking about over 1,100 wins,” Eriksen said. “That’s a lot of victories at the University of South Florida, and to be in one place for those three segments of an athletic career. You see a lot in 34 years, it’s amazing.”
Eriksen has a chance to call the school record all his own Tuesday when the No. 24 Bulls take on Seton Hall in a doubleheader at 2 p.m. in South Orange, N.J. Eriksen would pass Eddie Cardieri, his assistant baseball coach for two years.
“I like to see the game played at its highest artistic level and I’ve been fortunate to have some really good players that have bought into it,” Eriksen said.
Counting his time as an assistant, Eriksen is in his 28th season with the USF softball program and the burning desire to keep on going continues to be fueled by what got him into the game in the first place – teaching.
“I don’t think I’ve ever coached in my life,” he said. “I really enjoy teaching the game and how to play it the right way. I’ve never asked my team to win. I’ve just gone out there and tried to teach this bat and ball game the right way.”
Watch Eriksen attempt to lead the Bulls to more victories during this weekend’s three-game home series against Syracuse. Action begins with a doubleheader 1 p.m. Saturday and the Bulls finish up the regular season with one more battle against the Orange 11 a.m. Sunday at USF Softball Stadium. Purchase tickets HERE.