Brandi Harrison, a 2001 Hilmar High graduate, will be inducted into the Humboldt State Hall of Fame after a phenomenal softball career.
Harrison, who graduated from Humboldt in 2006, was told the news last week. She topped off an impressive senior year with a .441 batting average, including a 21-game hitting streak. Those numbers earned her All-American status, the conference's Player of the Year award and the school's Female Athlete of the Year honors.
“This is another thing crossed off my bucket list. The fact that I was able to reach all these awards and also a hall of famer, it really ties everything together and I am pretty proud of it,” Harrison said. “You put so much hard work and dedication and to finally get recognized and have things come together is huge.”
In her final year, the team finished with a 60-3 record heading into regionals, including a 43-game winning streak. The ‘Jacks made the playoffs and were also conference champions in every year of Harrison’s five year tenure.
However, success didn’t come easy. Inspired by her college coach, Frank Cheek, Harrison not only learned softball skills but life lessons, hard work, dedication and pride which helped her transition it into her everyday life.
“Frank really taught me what it means to have pride, not just in myself, but my school, team and he taught me some of the best life lessons I ever learned,” Harrison said of her former collegiate coach. “He was a father figure. If it wasn't for him I would not be where I am or be successful. He really taught me how to be a leader and that was a huge thing.”
Before attending Humboldt, Harrison considered forgoing her collegiate softball career but with the help of her former coach, she was able to regain her love and confidence back as she saw softball through a new light , she said.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play because I was so burnt out and Humboldt happened to fall into my lap after I was mentally tired. But in the end, I was very happy I made that decision because it was the best place for me to go,” Harrison said. “Coach taught me how to get back up after you fall and how it makes you a stronger person and that is something I use in life every single day.”
Hard work and dedication on the field transitioned in the classroom for Harrison as she was valedictorian during her senior year at Hilmar while maintaining an above average GPA during her college years.
“My grades were good; I got my bachelors in business and got a 3.8 GPA overall. In my master’s program in business I finished as the top female in my class,” Harrison said.
After working as an accountant for a number of years, Harrison realized that her true calling was as a softball instructor and coach. With the support of her mother, Harrison decided to switch career paths.
“My mother had been telling me to be a coach forever; I never listened and I did some financial advising. But that isn’t my thing; I realized that softball is my life and my mom pushed me to do it because I could eventually coach at the collegiate level,” Harrison said.
The Humboldt Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set for Sept. 27 and the actual enshrinement will take place at the school's football game on Sept. 28.