Coach Spotlight: Western Oregon's Lonny Sargent
Western Oregon has qualified for the GNAC Championships each year since its inception in 2013, all of those with Lonny Sargent at the helm.
Western Oregon has qualified for the GNAC Championships each year since its inception in 2013, all of those with Lonny Sargent at the helm.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, uses this space to profile conference student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. Collectively, it is these individuals who make the GNAC one of the top NCAA Division II athletic conferences in the nation.

Name: Lonny Sargent
Sport: Softball
School: Western Oregon
Born in Deadwood, S.D. Grew up in Casper, Wyo.

Colleges Attended: Warner Pacific College (Undergraduate, Human Development), Mt. Hood CC, Western Baptist College (now Corban University)

Why Did You Become A Coach: I love to teach and to see young people become who they will be as adults. I like winning of course, but seeing players go through struggles and helping them come out on the other side of those struggles, being stronger than they were before, is the most rewarding for me. I want every player I am privileged to coach to be a stronger, more independent, better version of themselves when they leave our program.

Who Has Influenced You The Most As A Coach - Either As An Inspiration, A Mentor, Or Philosophically: I have so many coaching friends that have helped me along the way and am so thankful to all of them for their insights, inspiration and most importantly, their unwavering support.

I know when I was really wanting to get into coaching, was when I was at Warner Pacific. My baseball career was at a point where I needed to make a decision to keep playing or move on. The head coach of the softball team, Shawn Gary, needed an assistant at the same time. I took him up on the offer and have never looked back. He has been so instrumental in my career and I thank him for giving me the chance. I had a few coaches give me resume advice when I was younger (many years ago). Patty Gasso, the head softball coach at Oklahoma and Linda Wells, former head softball coach at Arizona State. They were both so helpful and kind with their words of encouragement, I felt like I had to keep working at this wonderful game. Also, Sue Enquist and Mike Candrea, just because.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome As A Coach: Finding enough time in the day is a big one. I want players to be happy. I take it to heart when a player isn't happy here and that is something I work on all the time. Not all people are going to be happy with the decisions coaches make, but we still try.

What Does Division II Mean To You: Division II is a great balance between, school, sports & life. The players, at all levels, are so talented and fun to watch. I do think the stresses can be the same at all levels. There seems to be a little better balance between all that life throws at these young people.

Extracurricular Activities: Biking and anything outside (not in the rain though).

Best Advice You Would Give To Student-Athletes: Each and every one of you have a story to tell one day. What do you want to tell people about yourself? Be true to yourself, work hard, love your family and your friends and even though there will be struggles, and it doesn't seem like you can get through it, take a deep breath, figure out all of your options and then get to work to make it better. Unconditional love, hard work & laughter.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why): I would say Martin Luther King Jr. I would like to talk to him about staying positive in what seemed to be, such a difficult time in parts, if not, all of our country. Hearing him speak in person would've been so inspiring. We as people can do better to and for each other.

Favorite Sports Team: Denver Broncos, Boston Red Sox

Favorite Athlete: Jessica Mendoza is one of my favorite people.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Winning the GNAC regular season and the GNAC Championships in 2014 was a great moment. I think laughing with the players is right up there though.