NR softball values family atmosphere

Published 10:42 pm Friday, July 14, 2017

Coach and player relationships can last for a lifetime. Coaches are always there when players may not want to go to friends or family. Lady Warriors softball coach Gabe Rogers prides himself in building player-coach relationships beyond high school ball.

Under Rogers’ tenure at Nansemond River, he has sent at least 20 of his players off to the next level to play in college. Most of those players went on to make impacts on their respective teams, and each player in some way has returned either for advice or to give back to the program.

“You’re always excited when former players do well in college,” Rogers said. “You know their skill and their talent to perform at a high level at college. I always know that each player has the ability to do well.”

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One thing Rogers appreciates about the Nansemond River softball culture is that there is always an open-door policy. Last season alone, Nansemond River had seven seniors graduate, and at some point, six of them returned to work out with the team.

Rogers is a fan of University of North Carolina basketball team, because the team is widely known for its family environment. Former players who are up to 11-20 years removed from the program can come back and help.

“You see players from there go on to the NBA stuff, and they always come back,” Rogers said. “They always mention the family environment. That’s what I want to create here at Nansemond River. Even though your time here is done, you are always welcomed back.”

He always wants his players to feel like they are welcome back. Most of the girls who have played under Rogers have come back in some way. Coaches have a mentality of trying to figure out a problem head on, and that is one of the reasons Rogers feels his players are comfortable coming to him for advice for whatever may be going on in their lives.

“Players look at us as outlets,” Rogers said. “This is someone I can trust and someone I can go to in a time of need. I’m glad I can be that for them. You and your players can appreciate those things more once you get older.”

Nansemond River has four seniors who will go on and play in college this year. The Lady Warriors finished their season with a semifinal loss in the state tournament this season. Rogers has coached players who are currently playing for NCAA programs.