Softball program returns to the diamond

The newly appointed head softball coach has his eye on the future as he works to build a competitive team for this season and a long-lasting program for Pierce College.    


The history of softball at Pierce College may seem rather gloomy to some, but Head Coach Brett Marschall prefers to look forward toward a future that he sees as being filled with hope and possibility. 


Having been an accomplished student-athlete himself, Marschall understands and respects the importance of education. In addition to taking on this new role, Marschall also serves as a full-time economics professor at Pierce who is currently navigating the process of earning his tenure, a rigorous course of its own. 


“Imagine a venn diagram, with economics on one side and softball on the other,” Marschall said. “Where they intersect is my happy place.”


Marschall’s enthusiasm for teaching combined with his love for coaching made him the first-choice pick for this position, according to Dean of Student Success and Student Services Claudia Velasco and Athletic Director Susan Armenta, the duo responsible for hiring him. 


“Coach Brett had been in communication with me pre-pandemic in 2019, about his interest in coaching,” Armenta said. “So, coming back post-pandemic, I still had him in mind, knowing that he had coaching skills at the JUCO level and is also a full-time faculty member. That unique background is what made him our first choice.”


Dean Velasco agrees with Armenta and is thrilled that Marschall decided to take on this position.  


“He is already a very well-liked full time Economics Professor, and he knows the college well,” Velasco said. “I truly hope he can build his team this season and be able to compete, but even if that doesn’t happen this season, our main goal is to rebuild the program and bring back the sport.”


Sporting a long and accomplished history of both playing the game of baseball himself and coaching softball at nearly every level through the years, Marschall has kept tabs on Pierce Softball for many years, sees where he can help and is ready to take on this challenge. 


“We’ve already made a lot of progress and have generated some interest,” Marschall said. “Our team goal for this year is to compete and get Pierce back on the softball map again. That would be a big win for us.” 


Planting seeds and growing an athletic program from the ground up is no easy task and lasting effects always take time to root and flourish. As luck would have it, this concept is not new to Marschall. 


Before signing on to coach here at Pierce, Marschall served as Assistant Softball Coach at El Camino College and Marymount California University, both of which found great success while he was on staff. 


“When I was on the coaching staff at Marymount California University, we went from what I like to call worst to first,” Marschall said. “The first year we were 14 and 36, we were the worst in our conference. In the second year, we went to 35 and 14 and we actually won the conference tournament and went on to the NAIA super regionals for playoffs.”


As pitching coach and lead assistant at Marymount California University, the team’s ERA jumped up two points in one season and Marschall developed the first NAIA All-American pitcher. 


“I know what it takes to turn something around and to improve, and that’s what I’d love to try to apply here at Pierce as well,” said Marschall. “The first year for us involves getting the name established again, and then we can build on that for the future.” 


Veterinary Science major Samantha Santana, who has joined the team as pitcher, has noticed a unique approach in Marschall’s coaching style. 


“He is very experienced with this sport so the way he explains the game makes it easy to understand right away,” Santana said. “I’ve seen a lot of team members improving already in a lot of aspects because of him.”


Anyone who follows sports knows that every successful coach works to build a unique and meaningful philosophy over time. Something they can continue to draw on with the hope of inspiring their players to perform to the best of their ability. Marschall’s is to help people to reach their success, whatever that is in their own mind, one in which Marschall said can be applied to softball as well as to education and beyond. 


“I want to see my players develop into the best possible players they can be,” Marschall said. “So, for our players, if you come in and work hard, you’re coachable and are a good teammate, that’s what we’re looking for and that’s what will make you successful in the game and in life.”


Sophomore Daniella Tomic, a Kinesiology major and returning player, has noticed a big change in the program already, which she attributes to the addition of Marschall to the team. 


“I really enjoy having him as a coach because he is super involved and shows so much passion for the sport,” Tomic said. “He wants to make a difference with the whole program and make it the best, and I’m all for that. Beyond coaching, he is also a genuine person that is always supportive and fun, so it’s been an amazing experience having him as a coach.”


From day one, Marschall has encouraged his players to buy into the thought that they are the pioneering team of this newfound program at Pierce College.


“Together we are going to lay the foundation and blaze a trail for future softball players at Pierce,” Marschall said. “There’s a spot in the South Gym on the wall of fame, right in the middle. I want to get a photo of our team in that spot at the end of this season. I hope we can give them that chance.”


Marschall said the team is still looking to build their roster. Anyone interested in joining the softball team is welcome to contact Coach Brett Marschall directly to find out what the requirements are to join the team. 

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