Molly Jacobsen Follows Gut To Texas
As she took the circle at Red and Charline McCombs Field back in Feb. 2019, Molly Jacobsen didn't know that she was standing in her future home stadium. Jacobsen, a 2019 Second Team All-SEC honoree for Ole Miss, announced her decision to play her final college softball season at Texas earlier this month.
“I really loved their coaching staff and the opportunity to learn from someone like (Texas coach) Mike White would be amazing,” Jacobsen told Softball America in a phone interview. “He is able to get the most of the pitchers he’s worked with and that’s intriguing to me. I want to reach my full potential to help the team in any way I can. It’s probably the last year of me playing softball and I want to make the most of it.
“They’re a great team, a really great school, it seemed like the best fit. I prayed a lot about it, thought a lot about it, that was my gut feeling.”
Not only did the COVID-19 outbreak shorten Jacobsen’s final season at Ole Miss, but it complicated her transfer process. She hasn’t been on a visit to Texas yet. The only time she’s seen the school was during that Texas Invitational in 2019. She has relied on Zoom meetings, the university website’s virtual tours and coaches simply telling her different things over the phone.
“It was awesome that the coaches would go to that extent to try and make it as realistic as possible,” Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen’s past few months have been a prime example of how quickly life changes. Her would-be final season was extended after the NCAA granted relief for spring sport seniors. Now, she’s going to a school that she’s yet to take an official visit to and had to change her plans for next year.
If you ask Jacobsen, she'll say she has no ill will toward Ole Miss. The reason she left was because she had plans to start a doctorate program for occupational therapy at a school back in her home state of Iowa. But with the granted extra year and that school not having a Division I program, she looked for places that had both. In her search, the next issue she ran into was that most school’s occupational therapy classes were already full.
Jacobsen was then faced with a decision. Keep playing softball or hang up the cleats and start her steps toward a career after the game.
“I had to sit down and think about it,” Jacobsen said. “Do I want to go to occupational therapy school now and just give up my softball career or do I want to play again somewhere and have a fresh start? I decided that softball isn’t going to be around (for me) forever, so I decided to pursue that route and I’ll have occupational therapy to pursue next year perhaps if I decide to do that.”
The decision to keep playing allows Jacobsen to join one of the best teams in college softball from 2020 and a handful of returning upperclassmen that includes Miranda Elish, Softball America’s Player of the Year. It’s gone so well so far that she’s already found her roommates, too. If all goes according to plan for the Longhorns in 2021, Jacobsen probably has a chance to win a national championship.
“I’m really excited to be a part of that winning culture they have going on,” Jacobsen said. “ It’s going to be a really fun year.”
Maybe it was always destiny for Jacobsen to end up as a Longhorn. Before she started her playing days at Ole Miss, in her first two collegiate seasons she pitched for Des Moines Area Community College, where she was named the NJCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year and ICCAC Female Athlete of the Year. Ole Miss won her heart on her visit to Oxford, so she canceled the additional visits she had scheduled, including one to Texas. Of course, that visit was with the Texas coaching staff that was in place before White’s arrival, but Jacobsen does have a laugh thinking about it.
“I see it as a new opportunity,” Jacobsen stated. “Maybe this is a blessing in disguise.”