<P>SUMMER 201418 T Coach Ricci Woodard Becoming a parent has changed her perspective on life, coaching Texas State softball coach Richelle Ricci Woodard has long thought of her players as family throughout her stellar career with the Bobcats, mentoring them on and off the ?eld. While Woodard has a well-earned reputation as a driven, meticulous teacher of the game she loves, there are other facets of her job that transcend sports and make her as much a surrogate parent as a coach. I think thats what a lot of coaching is, teaching the athletes you work with life skills, Woodard says. They come to you when theyre 18. Ive had kids that didnt know how to do their laundry. Ive had kids that didnt know the hood from the trunk of their car. We help them with ?at tires. We help them with everyday things that we kind of take for granted. Normally, 18-year-olds still have a lot of maturing to do. They do a lot of that in those four or ?ve years that we have the privilege of helping mentor and mold them. As things turned out, Woodards coaching experience helped her prepare for one of the most challenging jobs shell ever have – being a real parent. Woodard remains as ?ercely competitive as she was when she played college softball, but her outlook on life and her career has changed since she adopted her sons, Joey and Alex. Foster parent ?rst Woodard became a foster parent to Joey when he was 14 months old. She adopted him in 2008, shortly after his second birthday. Alex was only 6 weeks old when he was placed in Woodards care. The coach adopted him in 2009, not long after his second birthday. They are the only two foster children I ever had in my house, Woodard says, adding jokingly: I told the people who brought them to me, ‘I think these two are plenty, I think Im done adding to my family. I guess I got lucky. Woodard, 46, says she never had given much thought to being a foster parent until someone from a social agency spoke one Sunday at her church. I thought, ‘You know, maybe I could do that and maybe give back. Even if I didnt adopt, Id at least feel that I had helped some child, somewhere, in some small way. Thats how it started. It didnt take Woodard long to bond with the boys and grow into her role as a parent. Its just an awesome feeling to know that once they were adopted, they werent leaving, she says. This is their home now, and Im the person who is going to be responsible for helping guide them through life. I was almost 40 when I adopted them. Woodard has embraced being a parent with the same passion she has consistently demonstrated as a coach. It is evident to current and former students. I think having those kids at home helps her understand the balance of having a home life and a family, and still being able to do your job well, says Temple College softball coach Kristen Zaleski, who played on Woodards ?rst four teams at Texas State. Shes able to balance being a mom, being a coach, being a professional, all very well now. It makes you focus on whats important in each aspect of your life and just narrow down the things youre doing and do them well. (wide)views Sometimes its easy to make everything just about the job. I started thinking that there had to be something more out there for me to give. - Ricci Woodard</p> <UL><LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/1/1/">Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/2/2/">Inside-Front-Cover</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/3/3/">Page-1</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/4/4/">Page-2</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/5/5/">Page-3</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/6/6/">Page-4</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/7/7/">Page-5</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/8/8/">Page-6</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/9/9/">Page-7</a></LI> <LI><a href="http://www.mzines.net/publication/688/emtmyzymj/10/10/">Page-8</a></LI> <LI><a 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