Published: 12:01 am, Sun. Sep. 13th, 2015Updated: 11:26 pm
Sandra Pulido has plenty of experience with softball. She’s worn the hats of youth league, high school and college player, as well as assistant coach. She also has a deep respect for and love of the game, and it’s those qualities she’s hoping to instill in the Lady Bulldog program as she takes on the title of head coach.
Pulido entered the Artesia Public Schools system this year as a history teacher at Park Junior High and assistant cross country coach at Artesia High. The departure of former Lady ‘Dog softball skipper John Tigert after last season left a vacancy in the head coaching ranks, and with her background, Pulido was a qualified choice.
Following her graduation from Turlock High School in Turlock, Calif., in 2004 – where she was a two-year starting second baseman and member of the 2004 Central California Conference championship and regional-qualifying team – Pulido moved on to Merced Community College in Merced, Calif. She started at second base for the Lady Devils for two years and was a member of the 2006 Central Valley Conference championship team.
Pulido headed to Las Vegas, N.M., in 2007 to compete at New Mexico Highlands, where she started at second for the Cowgirls. She received Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference All-Academic honors in 2007 and was a RMAC second-team selection in 2008.
She stayed on in Las Vegas to coach first base and outfield for the Cowgirl program from 2009-10 before returning briefly to California in 2011-12 to coach the same positions at Taft College. In 2014, she made her way back to Las Vegas, where she coached first base, outfield, slap hitters and pitchers at Luna Community College as part of a team that reached the Region V Tournament.
Relocation to Artesia was not in Pulido’s immediate plans, but when her fiancé took a job here, she made the move. Now, she’s excited to find herself at the helm of her own program.
Just settling into a team preparing to reorganize once again, Pulido is still finding her bearings but hopes to soon begin the task of familiarizing herself with her staff and future players.
“Right now, I’m just trying to get a feel for everybody, get them to buy into what I’m trying to do,” Pulido says. “Obviously, winning state would be huge. It would be great. But I know as a first-year coach, it may not come as easily because the girls still have to get used to my coaching style, and going through two coaches in two years is kind of difficult.”
Pulido’s philosophy centers around discipline and respect for both the game and the team, and she’ll be looking for her athletes to display those qualities.
“Respect is the biggest thing, not just for yourself but for the game, for your teammates, for your opponents,” she says. “Basically representing yourself, your family, and now Artesia in a positive way.
“I also just want to get them to enjoy the game, because I feel if you’re not having a good time and you don’t get along with your teammates and your coaches, then it’s going to be a really long season and you’re not going to be successful.”
Pulido also expects her players to focus on the student aspect of their student-athlete role.
“What I’ve preached to my girls in the past is education comes first,” she says. “Softball unfortunately isn’t something that everybody can do for the rest of their lives, so education comes first.”
Pulido plans to soon begin working with her staff and introducing herself to her players as she prepares for the spring of 2016 and a new era of Lady Bulldog softball.
“I’m just excited to get out there and see what type of players we have, what we can build on, and how we can continue to get better,” Pulido says. “One thing I ultimately would want to do for the program and athletes is to give back what I got out of softball. It made me who I am today, and I’d love to help these girls achieve their goals in the sport and in life.”