Ally Shipman Ready For New Environment, Challenge At Alabama
A slew of names have crossed the college softball transfer portal this offseason, however, Ally Shipman’s may have caught the most attention. After spending her first three years at Tennessee, Shipman's decision to transfer came as a surprise to many in the softball world.
She carries a .331 career batting average and a plethora of experience behind the dish. On July 7, Shipman announced that she would continue her academic and athletic career at the University of Alabama.
After she broke the news on both Twitter and Instagram that she would call Tuscaloosa her new home, an abundance of congratulations and joy from Crimson Tide players and fans alike filled the comments section. The support only reassured the now Crimson Tide player that she made the right decision.
“It's just so cool to see how excited the fans are that I'm coming and the girls on the team are super excited and, of course, the coaches,” Shipman said. “I just feel so welcomed already and that just makes me even more excited.”
Before the pure joy that was brought to Shipman after committing to Alabama, however, came mixed emotions as her fate was unknown.
Over the course of a few days after the conclusion of Tennessee's season, Shipman raised the question to herself and her family if it was time to start a new journey. About a week after those conversations began, Shipman found herself clicking the submit button to officially register her name in the transfer portal.
“I was excited for a fresh start, but also really, really nervous to click that button,” Shipman said. “Once I did click the button, it was kind of like, okay, we're doing this, let's go.”
An instrumental piece in keeping Shipman level-headed during her transfer process was J.T. Shrout, her boyfriend, who went through the transfer process himself after transferring from Tennessee to Colorado for football back in 2020.
“He's just been so supportive the whole way, and so I'm very grateful to have him in my corner,” Shipman said.
During her hunt for a new home, Shipman directly messaged Alabama’s ace Montana Fouts on Instagram and asked if they could talk over the phone. Shipman asked Fouts about her experience at Alabama and if pursuing her academic and athletic career there would cross off things on her checklist—experiencing a feeling of family in the program, prioritizing herself as a person over an athlete, pursuing her efforts to become a doctor and having the potential to win a national championship. After her conversation with Fouts, Shipman felt it would be in her best interest to take a trip to Tuscaloosa.
“I feel that coming to Alabama kind of hit all of those check marks,” Shipman said.
During her visit, Shipman said she immediately felt a sense of family between the coaching staff, players and other people within the program. The Valencia, Calif. native found herself wowed by the way graduate student Kaylee Tow and junior Jenna Johnson talked about their love for the program, the people in it and how they have developed as people during college.
“I think a really important part of going on visits is getting to know some of the players because they're the inside scoop as to what it's like to be on the team,” Shipman said. “I really loved hanging out with them and that was a huge decision maker for me too.”
Twice during the 2021 season, Tennessee packed its bags and headed to Tuscaloosa for a conference series against Alabama and the SEC Tournament. Shipman found joy in the trips she made to Rhoads Stadium because she felt a sense of comfort on the field and the passion from the Alabama faithful, which made her decision that much easier.
Shipman’s visit lasted a day and a half, and she committed to Alabama in person while she was there. Though, if you ask her, she could have told head coach Patrick Murphy and his staff that she wanted to don the Alabama uniform much sooner.
Approximately 20 minutes into her visit, Shipman turned to her dad and gave him a look.
“Alabama is the place for me,” she said.