Setting his sights on further improvement


File Photo/The Lion’s Roar

Rick Fremin, softball head coach, brought the Lady Lions from 12th place in the Southland Conference to tied for second place between his first season as the head coach and last season. He coaches his players to be tough and aggressive on the field.

Entering his fourth year as the softball head coach, Rick Fremin aims to continue the Lady Lions’ upward trajectory after setting school records for wins.

Though Fremin initially aspired to be a college football coach, he started his softball coaching career at his former high school, Belle Chasse High School.

“The athletic director came to me and asked me to be the softball coach ‘cause it had an opening, and I told him, ‘No,’ twice, and he told me to go home and pray about it for two days, which I did,” shared Fremin. “So, I wound up taking over four weeks before the first game, and then they hadn’t been to the state championships in 10 years, so we made it our first year, and the softball bug bit me.”

After earning district titles in his two seasons with Belle Chasse, Fremin coached for five seasons at Jackson State University before starting to coach the Lady Lions in 2015. Fremin discussed the transition from coaching at the high school level to the collegiate level.

“I enjoyed it because I was no longer in the classroom having to teach, so it was just 100 percent softball focused on the student-athletes, the development of a program,” explained Fremin. “I even enjoyed the fieldwork, the maintenance, building the program, so that was a great experience ‘cause I’m very competitive.”

In the search for a softball coach, Jay Artigues, director of athletics, appreciated finding Fremin to fill the role.

“We had many quality applicants, but coach Fremin’s track record of successful recruiting as well as his success on and off the field quickly separated him from the other candidates,” said Artigues.

Artigues discussed how Fremin developed the softball program.

“He has brought a sense of pride and accountability to the program,” stated Artigues. “Last season, our softball team set a new school record for wins in a season.”

When coaching, Fremin promotes the saying of “iron teeth” to signify mental and physical toughness as well as being more aggressive than the opposing team.

“We show that through our style of play,” explained Fremin. “We try to play fast while we’re playing free and enjoying the game and trying to not just compete but dominate and just have that mindset along with the physical and mental toughness I mentioned before, having the iron teeth to take a punch from the other team and be able to return it, stay in the fight.”

Jaquelyn Ramon, senior outfielder, described Fremin as “probably one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for.”

“He definitely changed the program around,” shared Ramon. “Everything he does, he helps us on the field and off the field and just to reach another side, not just softball. There’s life after softball. He definitely tries to tap into that with us and help us out in any way.”

In Fremin’s first year with the university, the Lady Lions finished in 12th place of the Southland Conference. In 2017, the Lady Lions tied for sixth, and last season, the team tied for second place.

“Three years, we made a lot of headway, a lot of progress, which has been recognized both in and out of the classroom,” said Fremin. “Our team GPA is now a 3.4. Our team service hours are higher than they’ve ever been, and last year, we won more games ever in program history. Things have been headed in the right direction. We’re not where we want to be. We’ll continuously compete for championships in the Southland Conference and advance postseason play.”