July 26, 2012 By Theresa Kurtz
By Theresa Kurtz
FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State head softball coach Trisha Ford announced the hiring of Sara Pickering to her staff on Thursday. Pickering is the first member of Ford's staff to be added and joins the Bulldogs with a wealth of coaching and playing experience.
"We are extremely excited to have someone like Sara join our staff," said Ford. "She comes with a lot of knowledge both on the defensive and offensive side of the game. Sara has played and coached at a very high level and is a constant learner of the game. She is a hard worker with a lot of passion for the game. Sara is someone who has a lot of integrity and character that will help positively shape the lives of our student-athletes."
Ford and Pickering coached together prior to Fresno State at Stanford. Pickering was an assistant coach for the Cardinal from 1998-2003. While with the Cardinal, she worked primarily with the defense and as the team's hitting coach, she also recruited and helped with community relations. Pickering and the Cardinal competed in five consecutive NCAA Regional appearances.
"I am extremely excited about this opportunity to join Trisha Ford at Fresno State and to be part of such a storied softball program," said Pickering. "I am looking forward to meeting the team, getting on the field, and building on the tradition which Margie Wright built."
Prior to joining the `Dogs, Pickering spent two seasons coaching at Cal State Fullerton. She spent a season as the volunteer assistant was promoted to a full-time assistant coaching position with the Titans in July of 2011.
Pickering spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an assistant coach with the Seminoles under head coach Lonni Alameda, specializing with the FSU infielders and hitters. She helped guide FSU to its best start since 1993 (20-1) and helped Florida State hit .297 as a team. In 2009, the Seminoles also ranked among the top 25 nationally in fielding percentage (.971).
From 2003-08, Pickering served as an assistant coach at UNLV. During her time, the Rebels won at least 25 games in each of her five seasons, including helping them reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine seasons after posting a 44-19 mark in 2005. Since then, UNLV hit no fewer than 43 home runs as a team in a season (including a program-best 50 in 2005) and helped coach one NFCA All-American, five NFCA All-West Region honorees, and 14 All-Mountain West Conference selections.
As a player, Pickering was the first two-time, first-team All-American at Washington. She started every game at second base during her four-year career from 1994-97, a span of 271 games. A three-time team co-captain, she helped lead the Huskies to their first Pacific-10 Conference title in 1996 and left the program with 15 records to her name, including an NCAA record 91 career doubles.
Perhaps her most stunning accomplishment came off the field, as a cancer survivor. Pickering was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and underwent a life-saving stem cell transplant in 2001. She has been in remission for nearly 10 years. To further her cause, she raised more than $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by completing the 2003 Portland Marathon.
While at UNLV, she helped the fight against cancer as the softball team annually hosted a "K-Out Cancer Day" to help benefit the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Rebels also participated in the NCCF's "Champions Run for Life" event each year.
Pickering, a native of Corona, Calif., graduated from Washington in 1998 with a degree in sociology. She also played professionally in the Women's Professional Softball League (WPSL) with the Virginia Roadsters and Arizona Heat. She was inducted into the Corona High School Hall of Fame in 2009.
"Discover Fresno State Athletics" - Tune into ESPN2 790 AM, home of Fresno State softball, for all the action of the 2013 season.
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