Enter new coach; enter a new era

Published 7:09 pm Friday, July 13, 2018


Amy Hooks’ arrival at Lamar University may have breathed some fresh air into its softball program, which operated under a tropical depression this spring. The program and its players needed a boost; she’s that.

Hooks, a Mesquite native and four-year North Mesquite High School star, enjoyed a legendary career at the University of Texas, earning All American honors and establishing power records while achieving in the classroom.

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A durable catcher, she was a coach of sorts on the field, calling pitches from behind the plate as a junior and starting every game her last two years. Small wonder: As an elementary and high school student, she posted perfect attendance for 13 years and routinely made the honor roll. She comes to play.

Small wonder, too, that within hours of accepting the Lamar job, Hooks was calling roster players and recruiting new talent. At 29, she’s coaching at a high level and she won’t let this opportunity pass. Lamar’s current players should take note. So should Golden Triangle prep players.

Hooks said she wanted her roster players to reconnect with the program, to know her and to know the softball program is headed on a new and beneficial course. Her youth belies her experience — she’s coached almost since college on the staff of an excellent program in Louisiana and has worked her way up by touching all the coaching bases. She is prepared.

Lamar players know her as a competing coach — Lamar and Northwestern State University play often — and as a Texas softball star. She has been someone to emulate.

Marco Born, Lamar’s athletic director, said Hooks came highly recommended by coaches and Power Five schools. There was never a doubt about her softball credentials, which she has earned.

She also came recommended on a personal level by Northwestern State athletic department colleagues who talked about her high energy, positive attitude and unfailing kindness. She is a force for good, they said; they will miss her not only as a respected coach but also as a treasured friend.

Born and Hooks are right when they recognize the depth of athletic talent in this area. Coaches needn’t leave Texas or stray far to find top-notch players; fans would delight in seeing Southeast Texas and in-state players compete here. Hooks brings instant credibility to the program by her experience and reputation.

Moreover, players need not only leadership and direction from their coaches, they need courtesy and respect. In an interview with The Port Arthur News, Hooks said she wants disciplined players who’ll operate within a family atmosphere. Players should welcome that.

At the same time, they should revel in what’s fun about playing the game and what’s special about representing Lamar. Expect much from Hooks. Expect a new era.