Courtesy Photo / Sports Information Department 
Softball Head Coach Doug Woods

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Sports Information Department Softball Head Coach Doug Woods

Jon Van Zytveld

While all career milestones take an exceptional deal of time and effort to achieve, some are more significant than others.
With last Friday’s 4-2 win over Ohio Dominican University, Grand Valley State University softball coach Doug “Doc” Woods hit 800 career wins, an achievement that he is both proud of and humbled by.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a big deal,” Woods said. “It was great to get that milestone. The team was excited for me; they gave me a jar full of 800 pennies. But, in the end, the wins are more about the players than they are about the coach.”
The milestone has been 22 years in the making for Woods, who began coaching the Lakers in 1991 and boasts the longest tenure of any Laker softball coach. During his time as head coach, Woods has amassed a sizable list of accomplishments, which includes leading the Lakers to the NCAA Tournament in nine of the last 13 years and an 804-369-3 career record. He is only the 16th coach in Division II history to reach the 800-win milestone.

When asked about what the experience of coaching has been like for him, Woods stated that it has been a great experience and that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and I still enjoy it,” he said. “People ask me what having 800 wins means, and I tell that it means that we’ve had a lot of good players on our team throughout the years.”

The Lakers were overwhelmingly supportive of him, Woods said, and the team seemed excited for their coach to gain such an honor.
As GVSU pitcher Kayla Hurd said, this milestone is far from the end.

“We’re just going to keep on building on that number for him,” Hurd said. “Hopefully we can even hit 900. We were very excited for him; he is a great coach and a fun coach to play for.”
As his career as a Laker coach continues, Woods remains happy to see his team coming together and improving.
“My favorite part has always been practices and being able to watch the players improve as the season goes on,” he said. “Seeing the improvement come to fruition in the games is great.”
However, Woods emphasized the fact that this milestone does not mean that the team’s work is done.
“We have got to play a little bit better defensively,” he said. “We always hit the ball well, but we need to focus on defense. There’s always fielding things that we can work on, but overall, I’m very satisfied with our work so far.”

After last weekend’s six GLIAC home games, the Lakers will return to the road on Saturday and Sunday for two double-headers at Lake Superior State University.
While the Lakers will miss the home-field advantage, they believe the quality of their play will continue to be strong no matter where they play.
“We’re definitely ready for this weekend,” said junior in-fielder Maggie Kopas. “It will be a challenge being away from GVSU, but we can handle it.”

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