Auburn News and Notes 6-21-17 Edition
How much will the loss of clutch player Carlee Wallace hurt the Auburn softball program? (photo:SEC Sports)
Auburn softball lost its best returning player for next year’s team when catcher Carlee Wallace shockingly announced that she is leaving the Tigers. Her presence at the plate and behind it earned her the name “Clutch Carlee.” She was tied for first in at-bats with 177 and ranked third on the team in batting, second in on-base percentage, first in RBI’s and first in slugging percentage, all while having the fewest strikeouts of any starter on the team.
Wallace is the second returning starter to leave the program since the end of the season. Just weeks ago, Whitney Jordan announced she was retiring from the game. Jordan, as many know, served as Auburn’s shortstop on the historic Women’s College World Series finals team before ultimately losing her position in 2017.
With Kasey Cooper and Haley Fagan using up the last of their eligibility, and the struggles of Auburn’s second basemen all year, it seemed almost impossible that Jordan wouldn’t land at one of the vacated spots.
Instead, she announced her plans to leave the team while hinting at her frustrations about returning on AL.com. “[Coach Myers] didn’t want me to do my internship in the fall with everything because I would have to miss 30 minutes of practice every day,” Jordan said. “That would be putting off five semesters and I’ve already put off three. So I decided to go ahead and do my student teaching and, hopefully, get a coaching job back home with my dad.”
While Wallace’s departure is more shocking and hurtful to the program, it is Jordan’s departure that is baffling. If college sports are about getting a quality education, why is the education being held hostage for the sport?
This latest news is not good for Auburn softball. One can’t help but look at the resignation of Corey Myers, the Haley Fagan/Tim Walton incident, and now these two leaving as potential trouble for the program.
Auburn football is receiving some love from the preseason magazines. But other than that, there’s not much going on with the Tigers except for the fact Gus Malzahn has completed his off-the-field staff for the 2017 season with the hiring of Mollie Moore as Auburn’s director of recruiting operations. Moore worked for Gus in 2013 as administrative assistant for recruiting and returns to the Plains after a two-year stint at Georgia where she was the Bulldog’s recruiting program coordinator
Auburn basketball was well represented on the U19 Team USA tryouts as Austin Wiley and Chuma Okeke are both in Colorado trying out for the national team. It remains to be seen if the two will make the team, but the fact that they are there says loads about coach Bruce Pearl’s ability to get talent to the Plains.
Steven Pearl has also stepped up as an on-court coach and recruiter. Steven landed the commitment of VCU transfer Samir Doughty, who will be a redshirt sophomore but will have to sit out a year. He averaged over 9 points, three rebounds, and two assists per game as a redshirt freshman guard. These aren’t earth-shattering numbers, but the shooting guard position was an obvious hole during the disappointing 2016-2017 season, especially off the bench.
So, proper credit is due to the Pearls for the job they’ve done at getting the talent to Auburn. Now they have to produce. With this team, getting to The Dance isn’t just a dream—it should be expected.
Until next time.