Softball Hires Littlefield As Director Of Ops
Oct. 9, 2009
By Christian Caple
The UW Daily
One step at a time, the Washington softball team is turning itself into a big-time college sports program.
First came the approval and decision to install stadium lights. And as of Tuesday, the program has an official director of softball operations, officially hiring Morgan Littlefield to fill a position that head coach Heather Tarr said has been discussed for several generations of coaching staffs.
'Pretty cool, huh?' Tarr said.
For them, it certainly is.
Littlefield, a 1988 graduate of Boston University -- where she was a spring-board diver -- spent 12 years as a special events director for Major League Baseball from 1996-2008, specializing in All-Star Game fan-fest activities and also organizing two World Baseball Classics.
She's spent the past year and a half doing freelance event production and marketing work in the Seattle area, where she moved to be closer to her family in California.
It seems like a match made in marketing heaven. Tarr amped up her efforts to increase UW's fan base last season, coordinating several activities in an effort to involve the student body more in the softball game experience. But she and her staff couldn't do it on their own.
'We have a marketing department, but there are things that we can do within our program to help market the program,' Tarr said. 'We can use her from a fundraising standpoint, because otherwise, it's pretty much just us doing that work with the liaisons of the department. And it's always nice to have somebody within our staff to be able to do some of that stuff. So it's somebody that's experienced in doing it, versus us just trying to do our best job of doing it.'
Expanding the fan base is going to be one of Littlefield's primary targets. She liked the fact that the position allows her to combine her logistical background with her marketing experience and said that Tarr's 'big picture' attitude made it an attractive opportunity.
Tarr was equally as impressed with Littlefield's credentials. But she was most impressed that someone with 12 years of experience in professional athletics was showing an interest in a job like this.
'I liked the fact that she had a passion to do something that I think in her mind is even more impactful and significant than those great opportunities,' Tarr said. 'Like work with a team, work with a group of women and help promote women's athletics. That was another thing that struck me.'
Volunteer assistant coach J.T. D'Amico might be happier than anyone, since he no longer has to arrange travel for the team. As much as she plans to direct her focus on marketing the program, Littlefield will also deal with the everyday tasks that the rest of the staff usually had to take care of before.
When you win a national title, you tend to get more help. Tarr said she didn't know if that was a direct result of the position being created, but it couldn't have hurt.
'I think they recognize that the demands of our program are just as much as basketball and volleyball and other sports,' Tarr said. 'And to be able to maintain and carry on and get better, we have to have some help in these areas. So I think it was definitely recognition on that part.'
Tarr and her assistants did all of the interviewing themselves. She guessed they received anywhere from 150 to 200 applications, though they didn't have an exact count. The job was posted on the UW staff jobs Web site on Sept. 11 and closed eight days later.
There's no questioning now that this program seems ready for a bigger stage.
'I love the energy and the progressive outlook on things and building the program,' Littlefield said. 'And not just this year, or next year, but five years. [Tarr] is constantly talking in a bigger picture, in a larger time frame to continue success and just build on this past season.'
Reach Sports Editor Christian Caple at firstname.lastname@example.org.