Sports

A softball lifer, Lance Glasoe now trying to restore PLU to prominence

Lance Glasoe has no such obsession with building a softball powerhouse “cathedral” at Pacific Lutheran University.

A sturdy, self-sustaining castle will do just fine.

If you study Glasoe’s long list of softball-related accomplishments, it is a tour of the sport. He was not only a batboy for his father’s nationally competitive fastpitch teams, he also played on them as a teenager.

In 1980, Glasoe watched every day of the World Softball Tournament at Cheney Stadium, then served as a batboy/interpreter for Chinese Taipei as it went on an all-star tour on the West Coast.

He has taught the sport, both at the high school and college level, and in private instruction. He has coached the sport at all levels, winning a South Puget Sound League girls title at Sumner High School as a head coach — and capturing an NCAA Division I women’s crown as the pitching coach at the University of Washington.

Now, he’s getting his first taste of coaching his own college program with the Lutes — a school he served as the pitching coach for under former coach Rick Noren for two years (2006-08).

“It is a sport I have grown up with,” Glasoe said. “Growing up, a lot of our dads played it from their military-service days. It was a big thing.

“I remember my first softball memory as a kid was being the batboy for my dad’s team at the national tournament in Clearwater, Florida.

“When was I was 12 years old, some of the really good pitchers from New Zealand would come over and played here. In fact, I had three of them living with us over a six-year span.

“That is how I learned about pitching.”

His best skill might not be all the technical knowledge of pitching he has learned over the years. It is the way he can communicate it to others.

“That is a gift that isn’t easy to have,” Noren said. “In this day and age, it is a real talent to be able to be even keel (about an outcome), and still be able to relate to his players at all times.”

When he left PLU, Glasoe was one of four new assistants at the UW under Heather Tarr. One of his first tasks as the Huskies pitching coach was to work with one of the most talented arms in the nation —Danielle Lawrie.

In Glasoe’s first season in 2009, Lawrie finished 42-8 with a 0.97 earned-run average, amassing 521 strikeouts in 352-plus innings. The Huskies won the national championship that year.

“One of the best coaches I have played for,” the former UW ace pitcher said.

Glasoe said his six seasons at the UW were eye-opening.

“The job description was to coach and recruit,” Glasoe said. “You did not do much else, so I was able to refine my (teaching) craft. I became a professional coach.”

Even though coaching at the UW was job-specific, Glasoe said he had to be concerned about a wide array of activities, which became very time-consuming.

“At the Division I level, it might be a 14-hour day — or three of them in a row,” Glasoe said. “It was constantly about ‘How do we get better today, or how are we better in a month?’

“At that level, it was hard not to worry about what everyone else was doing. I mean, you build a cathedral — and somebody comes along and builds a bigger one. It was those battles — the games within the game.”

Glasoe and the UW parted ways after last season. At the same time, Erin Brooks resigned after one season at PLU.

The Lutes hired Glasoe in July to be their coach at the NCAA Division III level.

He immediately went to work restocking the roster with 10 new freshmen, including Puyallup High School ace pitcher Marissa Miller, The News Tribune’s All-Area player of the year from 2014.

After a slow start, PLU — a three-time national champion at the NAIA and NCAA Division III levels — has won 11 of its past 13 games. The Lutes went 5-0 at the Tucson Invitational during that span. They are in a good position to earn a berth in the Northwest Conference postseason tournament April 24-25.

And these days, Glasoe is seeing more of his family in Puyallup — his wife, Kara, and two daughters, Madison and Macie.

“It’s been a huge perk,” Glasoe said. “I’ve made a few trips to my daughters’ schools to drop off lunch or a book. I am home at 6 o’clock — or earlier in the offseason. I get to go to choir concerts. And I saw 15 of Maddie’s 20 basketball games at Rogers.

“When this job opened up, it was a no-brainer to me to apply for to continue in softball. I am glad I am here.”

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