Berry softball coach who started program resigned, leaves behind legacy

Joshua Mabry, Campus Carrier sports editor

Director of Athletics Angel Mason announced that Cori Thiermann, the first and only head softball coach since the program’s creation in 2008, resigned from her position on Sept. 20. 

Thiermann resigned to move back to her home state of Wisconsin to be closer to family, according to Blake Childers, director of sports information and promotions. 

During her time at Berry, Thiermann had many accomplishments on the field. According to a press release from the Berry Department of Athletics, under Thiermann’s leadership the Vikings have won four Southern Athletic Association (SAA) tournament championships in the past five seasons. 

While the mark on the field speaks for itself, Thiermann left a mark off the field on both her former players and other staff members in the department of athletics. 

Childers said that this is his fourth season with the department of athletics, and Thiermann has been one of his closest friends in the department. 

“Outside of just being a colleague, she has been an excellent mentor for me starting in the field, working in athletics,” Childers said. 

In addition to being a great friend, she has also been a great ambassador for Berry in general, according to Childers. 

While Thiermann laid such a strong foundation for the program with the players on the team and assistant coach Emily Stanley, moving forward will be an adjustment period for the team, Childers said. 

Childers said that Thiermann’s accomplishments off the field and the relationships that she built during her time at Berry, including relationships with former players and her team bus driver of over a decade, are areas of the program that he knows she is proud of. 

“It’s the way that she built that program to where it was about really good softball, some of the best softball in the country, but really the alumni base and how much the Berry community bought into that team and the program in general is something that she did a fantastic job of,” Childers said. 

Childers said that the department is going to miss Thiermann, but they know that this is what is best for her. 

Shakarah Boswell (16C), former softball player and admission counselor at Berry, said that when she first heard the news about Thiermann resigning, she was caught off guard and had a lot of questions. 

“I wanted to know why she was leaving and what she would be doing next,” Boswell said. “It was hard to imagine in that moment, Berry softball without Cori Thiermann.”

After processing the news, Boswell said that her selfishness about Thiermann leaving went away and she became happy for her former coach because she was going to be closer to her family again. 

Boswell said that Thiermann was a key mentor in her life that left an impact on her both as a college student and now. 

After Boswell struggled some with classes and tests her freshmen year and expressed concern to Thiermann, Thiermann called the Academic Success Center to help Boswell receive the necessary accommodations. 

In addition to this, Thiermann also assisted Boswell with academics by allowing Boswell to have extra study hall sessions in her office as well as meeting weekly with Boswell to help her with schedule planning. 

“As a person, coach always has and always will mean a lot to me,” Boswell said. “In general, she is just a fun person to be around. She always has me laughing and is always there if I ever need anything.”

Starting a program from the ground up is the most remarkable thing that Thiermann did during her time at Berry, according to Boswell. 

“She put everything she had in this program,” Boswell said. “She worked year in and year out to make sure we as players enjoyed ourselves and she always showed our supporters a lot of love as well.”

Now that Boswell has returned to Berry as an employee, she said that she is going to miss being able to go to Thiermann’s office to talk to her. 

Boswell said that Thiermann was always welcoming whenever she went to talk to her and never made her feel like a disturbance. 

“I’m going to miss her so much, and I know that wherever she goes next, they will be extremely lucky to have her,” Boswell said. 

Former softball player and current Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Jessica Washington (13C) said that, while she was somewhat shocked to hear that Thiermann had resigned, she also knows that Thiermann is a family oriented person. She said that going back to Wisconsin is something that will make her heart happy. 

Washington said that the impact that Thiermann left on her life and all of the players that she coached throughout the years is tremendous. 

“She helped me through a lot of difficult times just as any other college student,” Washington said. “She took us in as her own. She cared for us and protected us. She made us strive to be the best people we can be. She always pushed for us to chase our dreams and have no limitations.”

The most remarkable thing that Thiermann did during her time at Berry was develop young women on and off the field, according to Washington. Washington said that every player who went through the softball program improved as a person.

“I think she really engages her players in a way that helps them grow as a person and really helps them find their niche and what they are meant to do,” Washington said. 

Even though Thiermann has now left Berry, Washington said that she will remain a close friend.

“I can pick up my phone and call her or text her, so that’s still there,” Washington said. 

The thing that Washington said she is going to miss most about having Thiermann on campus is having her college coach work at the place she works. 

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