Colleen Sullivan Thriving At Texas After Transfer
In Colleen Sullivan’s own words, 2019 was a year of “highs and lows.” Even though she became a national champion with UCLA in her first year as a college softball player, she was also doing some deep thinking about where she belonged and what felt right. The feelings went all the way back to when she was 14 and had committed to UCLA.
“It was an interesting year for me because I got caught, as many girls who were my age with early recruiting do, committing to UCLA when I was 14 (and) not knowing exactly what I wanted holistically, along with location, school, career-wise, what I was looking for in a program,” said Sullivan. “So, it was a really polarizing year in a lot of ways.”
Sullivan, who is currently batting .378 with 27 RBI, can now say she has found the place that suits her. She decided to transfer to the University of Texas for the 2020 season and the Longhorn sophomore can’t say enough good things about her school and the city of Austin.
“Austin is such a phenomenal city to be in, just the energy the University of Texas has with the state behind it, the investments they make into their programs here, I mean, athletes are their No. 1 priority in every single aspect, and the academics are amazing,” Sullivan added.
After speaking to head coach Mike White, it was a pretty easy decision for Sullivan. White has had plenty of success throughout his coaching career, guiding the Oregon Ducks to the Women’s College World Series five times in his nine years at the helm of the program from 2010-2018, and also leading the Longhorns to a Super Regional appearance in his first season as head coach in 2019. His coaching success, as well as his coaching style, spoke volumes to Sullivan.
“I loved our coaching staff when I first talked to coach White,” said Sullivan. “I grew up playing on the Orange County Batbusters with Mike Stith, and I really thrived under his kind of coaching style and I really felt that that was similarly mirrored with coach White—very assertive, cares about the team but almost runs it in a business-like way, which I love, and he is a very strong leader and has a clear vision. I really resonated with that easily.”
It hasn’t always been easy, however, for Sullivan or for the entire Texas team. Last season, the Longhorns were on cloud nine, having beaten both Washington and UCLA early in the season, but those good vibes came to an end suddenly as the season was halted due to COVID-19. Then, prior to the start of this season, nationally-acclaimed starting pitcher Miranda Elish opted out of the 2021 campaign. To top it off, right as the season began, an unprecedented snowstorm hit Texas, causing the first 10 scheduled games of the year to be canceled.
Through it all, however, the Longhorns persevered, and according to Sullivan, they are better for it.
“We’re so grateful for the opportunity that we have now, not that we weren’t before, but you see it in a different light,” Sullivan stated. “It also makes you a little bit more tenacious. Every game that we have now you attack it a little bit differently, you know how much it means to you and you also know that there’s a point that didn’t get to be made last year that we have to make this season.”