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January 16, 2013

New NHS softball coach getting early start on her dream

NORMAN — If everything goes as planned, Norman High has found a long-term answer to its softball program and Andrea Harrison has received an express ticket toward her softball coaching dream.

“Did I think it would happen so soon? No,” Harrison said. “But a lot of people have a 10- or 20-year plan. This was my plan.”

Monday night, the Norman Public Schools Board of Education approved Harrison as the Tigers new fast-pitch softball coach. She takes over for Tim Gonzales, who resigned after the fall season concluded.

Not yet certified to teach, the expectation is that will be taken care of by the beginning of the next school year. If it seems odd that she doesn’t yet have certification, it shouldn’t.

This time last year, Harrison was getting ready for her senior season of collegiate softball at UCLA. Still, it wasn’t the only thing on her mind.

“I already had the intention of coming out here and starting my life over,” she said. “I went to college so close to home and I just thought that it would be best for me to start the next phase of my life somewhere away from home … Part of me said I had to do my own thing.”

She’s been busy since moving to the area coaching youth softball, offering her services as a private hitting instructor and becoming a teaching assistant and assistant fast-pitch coach at Southmoore.

NHS athletic coordinator TD O’Hara said it was Harrison’s energy, enthusiasm and wish to have a positive effect on students and athletes that most impressed her hiring committee.

“We’re excited to have somebody like her,” O’Hara said.

Harrison’s playing resume is very strong.

She was an All-American and a two-time team MVP at UCLA. She hit .359 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs last spring. As a sophomore, she led the Bruins to a national championship, hitting four home runs and collecting 11 RBIs at the Women’s College World Series.

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