After 4 years as an assistant at Tennessee, Samantha Baggett Bohon enters her sixth year as the head women’s soccer coach at Embry-Riddle (FL) where she continues to build a tradition of excellence. The Eagles accumulated a school record 18 wins last season, making it to the NAIA national tournament quarterfinals and earning a No. 4 ranking in the national postseason poll. The 2-time Sun Conference coach of the year was named an National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Regional Coach of the year in 2011.
What’s the best advice you received from a coaching mentor that stuck with you?
Pat Summitt told me to never be above learning something from anyone! There are so many things others can teach us if we open ourselves up to their insight. It meant a lot coming from her who is arguably one of the best basketball coaches ever.
Last year you had 9 international players on your team. How do you approach creating team chemistry with so many people from different backgrounds?
It starts with the recruiting process. Our staff works especially hard to get to know each prospect and assess how well they’d fit our experience here. We’ve turned away talented players because we didn’t feel they would be the right type of person for this program.
At this level, it’s really important that the student-athletes respect each other, regardless if they are best friends or simply teammates. Recognizing respectable qualities and actions of players in front of their peers helps this process.
You’re a wife and mom with your second child on the way. What life balance strategies have worked for you?
My AD, Steve Ridder, has been instrumental in helping me navigate this balance. Reminding me that faith and family are most important, he encourages me to make sure that my off-season looks differently than my in-season schedule.
Obviously, the fall is pretty hectic and requires more sacrifice of personal priorities. So, I have to be intentional the rest of the year to create boundaries to protect my time with family. And, as difficult as it can be, I need to find areas that I can delegate to others to help create some freedom. Having a supportive husband and local parents/siblings is a huge help as well!