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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star


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Bobcat coaches value homegrown talent over portal transfers

Mandalyn Lewallen
Texas State redshirt senior outfielder Cameron Thompson (4) prepares to bat during the game against Sam Houston, Sunday, March. 10, 2024, at Bobcat Ballpark.

Since the transfer portal entered collegiate athletics, the worlds of college football, basketball, baseball and softball have gone through mass roster turnovers with players staying and leaving in high rates at programs nationwide.

However, for Texas State baseball and softball coaches, the transfer portal isn’t at the heart of their respected programs.

After the NCAA allowed a free one-time transfer in 2021, players began to go from elite program to elite program with no repercussions, and traditionally powerful teams saw immediate gain. This was not all bad, though, as it allowed schools like Texas State to acquire talent that would, without the new rule, be impractical pickups.

Baseball Head Coach, Steven Trout, said he uses the portal as a tool in recruitment, but compared to recruiting out of high school and junior colleges, he isn’t partial to it.

“I always say I want to build our program with really good high school players,” Trout said. “We’re going to grab guys [out of the portal] because we see things or know things that can come and help our program immediately.”

Texas State softball Head Coach Ricci Woodard agrees with Trout and said she values the four-year relationships she has with her players.

“I think the portal kind of changes how we have to approach our team sometimes,” Woodard said. “I’ve been pretty lucky. I haven’t really had to deal with the portal much. My players have stayed. I don’t get in the portal unless I absolutely have to. I do think in this day and age loyalty is harder to find.”

While viewing the portal from the coach’s perspective is vastly different from the players’ senior utility player Anna Jones agrees the relationships she’s made through the softball team are the most enticing thing about Texas State in her eyes.

“I have known Coach [Ricci] Woodard for a long time, I loved her energy,” Jones said. “I also loved Sara Vanderford, my teammate. I went to high school with her. I just fell in love with [Texas State].”

Jones said the portal benefited her as she made a swift transition to Texas State from LSU. Meanwhile, when it comes to recent trends in the portal, Jones said she thinks some players overuse it.

“I think it was needed, at first, for people who are truly unhappy. I think [now] it has gotten out of hand,” Jones said. “I think now people are using it to go from school to school to school, and it sucks as a coach who put trust into someone, and they leave.”

Jones said while there are certain situations where transfers are necessary, everyone has their spot on a team for a reason.

“Everyone has a purpose. No one likes being on the bench, it sucks,” Jones said. “I was on the bench my sophomore year, but being in my fifth year and knowing that there are people who don’t play but are needed on the team— they need to be there.”

The transfer portal is here, and it isn’t going anywhere. Trout and Woodard have adapted as they see fit and players like Jones show that a change in scenery can be great for someone’s career.

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