Dean Introduced as Head Coach of Auburn Softball
Mickey Dean at his introductory press conference, September 17, 2017.
(Photo: Auburn Athletics/Wade Rackley)
After three weeks of searching, Auburn Softball has their new leader.
Mickey Dean was introduced as Head Coach on Sunday after being named to the position on September 14. Dean replaces Clint Myers, who announced his retirement on August 23, as the third Head Coach in Auburn Softball history.
Dean comes to the Plains after a successful five-year stint at James Madison, where he led the Dukes to 40-plus wins in all five seasons, including two 50-win seasons, and five appearances in the NCAA Tournament. He also coached pitcher Megan Good, the 2017 National Player of the Year.
Dean is no stranger to the atmosphere of game days at Jane B. Moore Field, as he brought his Dukes to Auburn last season, splitting a two-game set with the Tigers during the Tiger Invitational February 25 and 26. Overall, Dean was 1-2 against Auburn in his five years at James Madison. He says that he looks forward to having fans cheer for him.
During his press conference, Dean says that he was appreciative of Auburn for allowing him to bring his family along from Harrisonburg, Virginia to Auburn for the introduction, saying that it was truly an amazing experience for them to take in Auburn over the weekend.
He then gave appreciation to Auburn President Steven Leath, and Athletic Director Jay Jacobs for having enough confidence in him to offer him the position.
"This is one of the programs where, when you first get into this business, you want to be at," says Dean of the caliber of Auburn Softball. "The ceiling is unlimited."
Not only was Dean happy for the opportunity to coach at Auburn, he also considers himself an Auburn football fan. He says that he loved watching Bo Jackson play for the Tigers in the 80s, and hopes that he gets a chance to meet him while he is coaching the Softball program.
Dean said that he got the call from Auburn about a week ago, and flew down to discuss the specifics with administration. During the meetings, he immediately felt welcomed at Auburn University.
"The biggest impression that was left on me, was the family atmosphere," Dean said.
But the hospitality does not stop there. With Dean having two children, one still in High School, he wanted to make sure that Auburn was a great choice for his family as well.
"They understood that my daughter is a junior in high school, I don't want to rip her up and take her right out of high school. The adjustments that they are going to help us with, it just made it feel extremely right."
Now that this program is his, Dean wants to set a high standard in the culture department, and has a solid philosophy for getting the most out of his players.
"There are two types of culture... culture by default, and culture by design. My responsibility as head coach, is to make sure that we have the culture that we want, and it has to be by design. I don't think that you can be great at one thing. If you want to be great, you have to be great at all aspects of your life, academics, socially, on the field, work ethic. I told the team (Saturday) that the only time that we will ever have a problem, is I'm outworking you, or you are outworking me."
Dean described meeting with the team as "great." The team talked with their new coach about what they would like to accomplish this season, and Dean took the time to get to know each player. He used the "first day of class" method, by having each player stand, give their name, their major, and a fun fact about themselves.
He also introduced "trust, love, and commitment" to the team on Saturday.
"I am going to have to trust them, they are going to have to trust me. We have to start at 100%, we have to find a way to do that."
Dean is not too worried about finding trust with his new players. He is excited, however, about the drive that each player has.
"They just want to play softball. They are excited. We want to take that excitement and run with it. They want (fans) to come out and cheer. That's all they want."
When it comes to hiring a staff, Dean says that the process will begin this week.
In 11 years at the collegiate level, Dean has coached seven NCAA Tournament teams, including one super regional participant, and won nine conference championships.