Kristen Rumley '15 prepares for coaching role
A self-described late bloomer, Kristen Rumley ’15 never imagined pitching in college. After initially starting her athletic career in soccer, Rumley switched over to softball at the age of seven and fell in love with a sport that would be deeply ingrained in the next decade and a half of her life.
The first few years of Rumley’s softball career were rocky, but after working with her father and switching to first base, Rumley improved quickly and her passion for softball grew. Never one to shy away from trying new things, however, Rumley knew she wanted to try pitching in middle school. Challenged by her father to spin the ball every morning before school, Rumley demonstrated her focus and drive by waking up early and doing so for six months.
Entering high school, the Houston native exceeded at her sport. In addition to being named second-team all-state as a junior, Rumley helped her team clinch the district championship in 2008 and 2010.
After committing to the College the fall of her senior year, Rumley entered the women’s softball team not quite knowing what to expect from the program. Her softball career continued to grow, as she was positioned as starting pitcher her freshman year. In the same year, Rumley was chosen as the team’s MVP and also garnered an all-Ivy honorable mention. From there, Rumley’s softball career became one for the record books. Two Ivy League championships and three Ivy League Pitcher of the Year designations later, Rumley leaves behind a legacy that will be hard to match.
“I didn’t imagine Dartmouth happening as it happened,” Rumley said. “We had a great four years and really turned the program around. Being part of that process was amazing.”
A recent graduate, Rumley will continue to contribute to the women’s softball team in her new position of assistant coach in the upcoming 2016 season. The possibility of coaching for the team became a reality for Rumley the winter of her senior year.
“I went through job recruiting, but I still didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to do,” Rumley said. “As February rolled around, my coach asked me how the job search was going. That was when she asked me if I had ever thought of coaching.”
Although Rumley knew that the assistant coaching position would be vacated at the end of her senior year, she had not previously considered coaching.
“I thought about being part of the program and how I loved my experience so much,” she said. “I remember thinking that I’d love to see how the team develops, and I fell in love with the idea.”
Softball head coach Shannon Doepking said in an interview with Dartmouth Sports that Rumley cares deeply and has contributed a lot to the program.
“She was a tremendous pitcher with a wealth of knowledge, and I’m eager to see the impact she will have on our pitching staff,” she said.
Rumley’s former role as team captain for the women’s softball team gave her leadership experience, which she found to be helpful in her transition from player to assistant coach.
“I think my experience of stepping into a leadership role and knowing that I have to become a leader and know how to work with other players will really help me,” Rumley said.
Rumley’s main goal as assistant coach is simple — continue to improve the women’s softball program.
“I’m going to give the same effort as a coach that I did as a player. I want nothing more than to continue that experience,” Rumley said.
Former teammate Maddie Damore ’17 expressed excitement over Rumley’s new position as assistant coach, noting that Rumley consistently delivered a high degree of effort.
“Personality-wise, she’s laidback in an approachable way,” Damore said. “She’s a three-time Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, yet she’s still a normal person who works super hard.”
In addition, Damore sees the addition of Rumley to the coaching staff as being especially beneficial to keeping the close team dynamic that permeates the softball team.
“We preach family a lot as a team, and [Rumley] brought so much of that aspect to the table as a player,” she said. “We’re all really excited to see how she grows as a coach.”