MU softball coach finds success at home

Thursday, February 19, 2009 | 10:23 p.m. CST; updated 11:37 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 19, 2009

COLUMBIA — Ehren Earleywine is an honest man. Try not to hold that against him.

“I thought we had a chance to do really good because we’re the only major university in the state of Missouri, so I thought we’ve got a chance to get the kids in the state of Missouri," the third-year Missouri softball coach said. “But sitting here now, we’re so much farther ahead than what I thought.”

Although his statement suggests surprise, there is no shock in his measured and calm voice as he says this. There never is. Whether he’s talking about his program’s promising future or declaring himself dissatisfied with his team after a game, it’s always just the truth, absent of any arrogance or anger.

Maybe it’s because it took a couple of unexpected twists to transform Earleywine from a baseball player set on a career in business into a softball coach, that he’s never learned the art of making vague statements about just wanting to compete or resorted to cliches about one game at a time.

So when Earleywine, feet propped comfortably on his desk, says that he thinks his team will be better a year after making its first NCAA Super Regional appearance, it may not be a guarantee, but it’s more than just talk.

'This is going to be the easiest thing I've ever done.'

The story of how he ended up in this office starts with a strikeout. Three of them, actually.