Haley returns to VirginiaPublished 9:23pm Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Never in her wildest dreams did Suffolk softball standout Eryn Haley imagine she would have been affiliated with three different colleges before the start of her second year.
She originally committed to West Virginia University Institute of Technology in December 2012 after being recruited by the Golden Bears’ then-coach, Karin Gadberry. When Gadberry took the coaching position at New Mexico Highlands University in June 2013, Haley followed her there.
However, homesickness and health concerns have brought the former Nansemond River High School and Sting Fastpitch player back to Virginia, where she has signed with Bluefield College.
“It’s been crazy,” Haley said of all the transitions.
New Mexico seemed like a good situation for her, but shortly after arriving, she began experiencing health difficulties.
“In the fall, I was having a lot of headaches and getting sick a lot,” she said.
A neurologist suggested it could be related to a serious injury Haley suffered while pitching during her senior season at Nansemond River. She had been struck in the face by a line drive, without any protective headgear on, resulting in facial fractures.
New Mexico Highlands University is about 6,700 feet above sea level, and the doctor said the altitude could be a factor in the headaches.
Haley was able to perform academically, but with difficulty. Trying to push through, she said, “I actually didn’t say anything about any headaches or any sickness to my parents until November.”
She redshirted her freshman season because of the issues, and the spring is when the homesickness really began to set in.
“It just wasn’t a good fit for me,” she said of the situation, despite also saying it was difficult to part ways with Gadberry.
Considering other options, she recalled Bluefield College coach Randy Fielder and his assistant coach Erika Bell, who recruited her in high school.
“I thought about that and how much both of them wanted me, and that’s when I made the decision to look more into it,” she said of the school in a city only about 2,600 feet above sea level.
In May, she made a visit to Bluefield, and she said, “I decided that that’s where I wanted to be.”
While there, she received an offer for an athletic/academic scholarship and accepted it.
“We’re very excited to have Eryn choose Bluefield College,” Fielder said. “We know it wasn’t her only option, and we see her as a game-changer.”
Haley’s father was pleased with her school switch, including that it put her about 1,500 miles closer to home.
“They have her degree, which is the most important thing to me,” he said of Bluefield. “Her being able to play softball is a bonus. I’m very excited for her as an individual, as an athlete, as a student, to continue to be able to pursue what her goals were as she was prior to leaving New Mexico Highlands.”