Published Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 10:33 pm / Updated at 10:46 am
SOFTBALL
Her players, not games, fuel Revelle

There's been a few more giggles, a few more closed doors in the Nebraska softball offices this week.

Some surprises might be in the works for the celebration honoring coach Rhonda Revelle on Friday.

“They are having fun,” Revelle said of her team.

Revelle, who is in her 21st season, became the school wins leader in all sports with her 768th victory against Oklahoma State on March 3.

She'll be honored after Friday's 4 p.m. doubleheader with New Mexico State. The first 768 fans through the gates will receive a free T-shirt honoring Revelle's accomplishment.

Revelle said she's been fortunate to be at Nebraska for so long, along with assistant Lori Sippel, and so many great student athletes. It's where she'd like to finish her career.

The best part hasn't been the games, although the defeats tend to stick in her memory more than any big wins.

“The best is every day, just feeling like it's not really a job,” she said. “It's an opportunity to work with young people. They keep you young and in return, you help them along their way in life.”

There's been tough times, too, that she wishes could have turned out different. But Revelle said it's all been a growing experience.

That includes the game itself.

Athletes really are stronger and faster than when she started, she said, and coaches are more trained and skilled in what they teach their teams.

“Softball has really exploded with regard to television compared to where it was 21 years ago,” Revelle said. “It's two different universes.”

Recruiting also has become a never-ending job in the past six or seven years.

Revelle added snow removal to that job description this week.

At one point on Wednesday, 30 people were at Bowlin Stadium clearing snow off the field and in the bleachers and dugouts. Shovels, snow blowers, you name it, Revelle said.

“It was part of our practice,” she said. “The softball team donated about 30 hours of labor to the project. I will say, we did a minimal amount to what the grounds crew and university crew are doing.”

Because the tarp was down when it snowed, Revelle is confident the field will be ready.

The No. 21 Huskers, 16-5 and the winners of five straight, also play New Mexico State in a single game on Saturday at 2 p.m., part of a nine-game homestand.

It's a relief to be back in Lincoln. With seven freshmen on the roster, it's been interesting shepherding young players through the challenges of studying on the road, working with professors and making up missed tests.

The Huskers won't take to the road again until March 26, and Revelle pointed that out to her team when it got home on Sunday.

“You could almost feel a collective sigh,” Revelle said.

* * *

>> Video: Huskers.com tribute to softball coach Rhonda Revelle:

Contact the writer: Marjie Ducey

marjie.ducey@owh.com    |   402-444-1034

Marjie Ducey covers state colleges, women's sports, high schools, select sports, outdoors, holes in one, soccer, running and any other type of interesting story. She also puts out the metro edition and does some updating on Omaha.com.

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