IU South Bend Director of Athletics and Activities Steve Bruce said, “When she interviewed we knew she was the right fit for our program.” When Bruce recruits coaches, he’s looking for a candidate whose vision and leadership goes deeper than winning games. “Our call to our coaches is to do right and model integrity,” Bruce explained. “Brittney is a star in those categories.”
Lightfoot comes to IU South Bend with experience on both sides of the softball diamond. In high school, she was a star pitcher for Elkhart Concord High School, and was recruited by the University of Detroit-Mercy to play on its Division 1 softball team. After a year, she transferred to Bethel College to be closer to her family. In three seasons at Bethel, Lightfoot was a standout pitcher, tallying 71 wins and 644 career strikeouts which was 200 more than any other pitcher in Bethel softball history. Lightfoot was also a two-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American.
After graduating with a degree in exercise science, Brittney worked at an Orthopedic Sports Medicine Center as a physical therapy aide with thoughts of pursuing a career in physical therapy. However, her passion for softball was stronger, and she returned to Bethel College as an assistant coach in 2011.
During Brittney’s six-year tenure as an assistant coach, she helped lead the Pilots to an overall record of 130-89.
As she begins her coaching career at IU South Bend and starts to recruit players for the Titans first women’s softball team, Lightfoot is looking for players who show some grit and have a passion for the game. “They need to be willing to make some changes because they love the team and want to see the team succeed,” she said. “I’m also looking for players who have good academic records because it demonstrates they are responsible and have good time management skills.”
Lightfoot plans to recruit 16 softball players by August. Although softball is a spring sport, the new coach is eager to begin team practices in the fall before the women’s softball season begins in March 2017.
As she reflected on her mission as the Titans first softball coach, Lightfoot said, “I want to grow people and invest in them. I’m more interested in who they are as people and who they will be in four years.
And Lightfoot’s hopes for the Titans first women’s softball season are simple. “I hope people come out and watch us play and support us during the season.”