First Base With FAU Softball Head Coach Joan Joyce
The saying “Jack of all trades and master of none” just might be put to rest by the all time FAU softball coach Joan Joyce.
Since dedicating her time to the women’s softball athletics program in 1994 there have been 12 championship wins under her leadership and 11 NCAA Tournament visits.
But, before the world of sports became the totality of Joyce’s life, she had other endeavors.
“I opened a travel agency when I was in Connecticut and I worked at that for a few years,” Joyce said.
Joyce’s career in sports, whether as an athletic director or a coach has been pretty successful as her many accolades speak for themselves, but so do her stories and experiences.
“I really haven’t run into many roadblocks, I’ve been pretty fortunate,” Joyce said. “I think because of my success in all the other sports that I have played, I have the respect of a lot of people.”
Joyce is a five-time A-Sun Coach of the Year, Sunbelt Coach of the Year in ‘07, Two- time C-USA Coach of the Year and was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame in 1983.
Though she has extensive experience within the world of sports, and has spent the past 27 years as the leader of the Owl’s softball program, she feels that the support of women within women’s sports could be greater.
“In the past I feel like women don’t support women’s movement in sports– men do,” Joyce said. “Men come out and watch softball games [and] basketball games played by women.”
Nonetheless, she has seen that women’s sports has improved over the years in athleticism and talent and feels it will continue to get better and grow.
Currently, Joyce is still working towards positively impacting her athletes so they can contribute to that percentage of growth in women’s sports.
Her philosophy in improving from her team in their past seasons is focusing on the basics.
“We all need to do a better job in teaching the younger generation how to play the game,” Joyce said. “They know how to throw, they know how to catch, they know how to swing the bat– basically the fundamentals of playing the game.”
She expressed, however, that they don’t understand the game. So, their next goal is to begin watching softball and even baseball in order to learn the nuances of the sport.
Joyce’s key is really being well-versed on the game and knowing the rules of it, not just the fundamentals.
She is the example that when you’re passionate about something, no matter who may doubt the possibility of your success, continue to push past any ounce of question.
“My mother used to always tell me when I was younger, she used to say to me ‘when are you going to get a real job’” Joyce said.
Joyce has always maintained a “real” job, whether it was someone else’s version of it or not.
From the PGA Tour, FAU’s softball program, a biographical book and the stage of theatre, Joyce has pretty much every base covered.
Her book is titled “Joan Joyce: The Legend in Softball,” and can be found on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, and the FAU bookstore.
“It takes you through my whole life, from all the things I’ve done,” Joyce said. “I’ve done so many things that people don’t know about but it’s pretty interesting to follow my career.”
Aside from her book, Joyce’s home state of Connecticut will be putting on a musical of the life of Joan Joyce. Those in or surrounding the West Haven and Branford areas will have the opportunity to go watch the show live.
As for others who are not nearby, the show may be accessible through online or cable streaming services.
Now, Joyce is a woman with many job descriptions and it’s all because of the passion and drive she had to do what meant the most to her.