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Roxanne Hillman

Softball player Roxanne Hillman learns decision to follow coach to Motlow was a good one

For sophomore Roxanne Hillman, the decision to come to Motlow was an easy one. Hillman chose to attend the college after she learned that her longtime coach and mentor Tori Rabi-Gentry had accepted the position as head coach for the Motlow Lady Bucks softball team.

"I have known Coach Gentry since my sixth-grade year," Hillman explained. "A friend of mine took me to a pitching lesson that Coach Gentry was teaching, and that's how I met her. I then began taking pitching lessons from her, and the rest in history. Since working with her, I have gained a strong love of softball."

Although Hillman had already signed with Coach Gentry's previous school, she knew there was no doubt that she had to follow her coach to Motlow. "I also had a chance to travel from Virginia and visit Motlow before I made my final decision," she said. "Once I stepped on campus, I knew I wanted to be here. I'm also from a small town, and this felt like being home."

Hillman said although she was a little home sick at first, she found the staff and faculty welcoming. Along with the support and friendship of her teammates, she overcame her homesickness and began to enjoy college life.

Now a sophomore pursuing a major in general studies, Hillman said she is looking forward to expanding her degree and pursuing a career as a speech pathologist.

"I've always liked the idea of teaching," she said. "I have taken some education classes here at Motlow and loved them. All my professors were great and helped me make the decision to pursue a career in education."

Hillman added that being a school athlete can be somewhat of a challenge in juggling both school and softball.

A normal day for Hillman begins early in the morning, and she has classes until the late afternoon. She then heads to practice and then to study hall. "It can be hard to study, but we have help with study hall and our coaches are very helpful and encouraging, which I think motivates us to try even harder and achieve the best grades possible," she said.

Coach Gentry said that she is proud of Hillman's progress and has enjoyed watching her become a "successful young woman."

"I've known her for over seven years," she explained. "I was her pitching coach in Virginia, and I had the opportunity to watch her go from a young athlete who struggled to a college athlete who can compete. She has grown and matured so much and is a great example of what we want our athletes to represent. I couldn't be prouder of the young lady she has become."

As the softball season approaches, Hillman said she knows she will have to practice diligence as she works to balance both school and softball to ensure she graduates on time in May.

She added that she is up for the challenge, thanks to the lesson of time management that her coach and Motlow instructors have taught her.

"Managing time has been the key, and Motlow has taught me how to juggle it all," she said. "I'm glad I decided on a two-year college. I feel like I would be behind if I had chosen a bigger university. Motlow was definitely the best thing for me."