by: Caleb Odom
According to Google maps, there are 16,158 miles between Sydney, Australia and Troy, Ala.
That was journey that Sharon O’Mara made to become an assistant softball coach for the Trojans.
“Obviously coming from Australia, there was a bit of a cultural change from Sydney to Troy, Ala.” O’Mara said.
O’Mara promised head coach Melanie Davis that she would stay at least one season.
Now in her fifth season at Troy, O’Mara was promoted to Associate Head Coach for the Trojan Softball team.
“From our standpoint here at Troy, we definitely felt like that she was very deserving of this promotion for numerous reasons,” Davis said. “She has been very instrumental in the talent level of our team I think taking off a lot since she took over as recruiting coordinator.”
In 2009, O’Mara’s pitching staff finished with a 38-19 record including pitcher Ashlyn Williams, who set the school single-season strikeout record with 312.
The following year, Williams would break her own school record with 402 strikeouts in 2010 while O’Mara’s staff closed out the season with a 2.83 ERA.
The 2011 season brought more success for O’Mara’s standout pitcher Williams, who finished her collegiate career at Troy with 1,305 strikeouts good for 17th most in NCAA Division I history along with 93 career wins.
The year 2012 was a renaissance year for O’Mara’s pitchers with three freshmen who picked up 29 of Troy’s 31 wins last season.
So far this season Troy is (6-6) and O’Mara’s hurlers have a 3.59 ERA with 56 strikeouts and an opponent average of .219.
“Her record speaks for itself in her ability to coach pitchers and catchers.” Davis said.
O’Mara brought a mindset for winning with her when she left Australia.
“Even though we are a small school, we can also be a successful school,” O’Mara said. “That was always my motto that I wanted to come here to make a difference.”
Making a difference from recruiting, working with the players and being a valuable asset for the other coaches as a point of reference on how she attacks hitters is just some of the things that Coach O’Mara has brought to Troy.
“I think it is just a wonderful opportunity,” O’Mara said. “I think we are definitely on the path to some good things, it’s just a matter of consistency and hard work and hopefully we have got some big results around the corner.”
The adjustment to living in the United States has been positive for the Aussie.
“Having not lived here or worked here, it was sort of a big step to the unknown,” O’Mara said. “But the people here in Troy, not just the university, but the community have been so good to me. Very welcoming, very supportive and that means a lot.”
O’Mara is motivated by having success but for her the most rewarding thing is what she can do for the young women playing out in the field.
“Just to see the student athletes do well,” O’Mara said. “I think that the balance that they have to have not just to play softball but in school and in life.”
As for the Trojan coach from the land down under staying in Troy, well she is just enjoying the ride.
“Right now Troy is my place and Troy is where I want to be and success is what we are after.” O’Mara said.