When the assistant coaching position within the softball program at Western Oregon University opened, Abigail Farler saw an opportunity for her life to come full circle.
Farler was born and raised in Monmouth, just down the street from the sports complex she will now call home.
“My memories of Monmouth are basically the ideal childhood. Have you seen the movie `My Girl?’ It is a lot like that,” Farler said. “I loved growing up in the community and being able to walk over to WOU and watch games. Monmouth is a place where everyone looks out for each other.”
Farler graduated from Santiam Christian High School in nearby Adair Village and played college softball at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.
“That’s where my coaching career really started. As an upperclassman we had a `little sis’ program and I really enjoyed helping the younger players become better,” she said.
After graduating, Farler moved to Scottsdale, Ariz. – a hotbed, no pun intended, for baseball and softball prospects. There, she began private instruction of mainly high school players as clients and helped them develop their game, focusing mainly on pitchers.
“I had a very small group of athletes at first, but soon their success on the field led to more and more clients and things went very well,” Farler said.
After five years coaching high school athletes, she decided to make the jump to the collegiate level.
“I wanted to work with players in their prime and help the college-age athletes understand their bodies, strengths and teach them the mental aspect of the game,” Farler said.
Last year, she took an assistant coaching position at Colorado School of Mines and made the most of it.
Farler helped lead the Orediggers to a school-record 40 wins, coached one of the top pitching staffs in the nation, and the team advanced all the way to the NCAA Division II National Softball Championships. One of her pitchers, Kelly Unkrich, earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association first-team All-American honors under her guidance.
That level of success is something Farler is certainly interested in bringing with her back to WOU.
“I want to win a conference championship and then go from there,” Farler said. “I know we have a deep pitching staff with a lot of returning players, so I am looking forward to working with them.”
What is more important to Farler right now is giving back to the community that helped her become who she is today.
“I really wanted to find a program where I could be part of the whole experience,” Farler said. “I want the student-athletes I work with to become better on the field, academically and as people. That is why I jumped at the chance to come back to Monmouth.”