As a head softball coach for a junior college, Gina De Aguero is given the task of molding 18 and 19-year-old women into accountable people, and players in just two years. At the junior college level, athletic programs consist of adolescents who are legally considered adults (18-19 year-olds), but are still maturing. When De Aguero gets her players to sign their national letters of intent to Miami Dade College, she becomes their mentor/parent away from home.
Knowing the time frame she is given with her players, De Aguero says "… I only have them for two years, and in those two years we have a lot of ground to cover. My job is to get them in here, get them to be successful, get their GPAs up, and being able to help them transfer to a four-year university so they can continue their education, and athletic careers."
Aware that a professional contract is not guaranteed after a softball player's collegiate career. She provides her players discipline, and structure so they can be prepared for the real world after college.
In addition, the head coach believes attending a junior college allows student-athletes to have better relationships with their professors since the campuses are smaller than four-year colleges/universities.
According to De Aguero, "Not all players, and not all students are meant to succeed in a four-year program right away. The class sizes are much bigger in a four – year (college/university). You know they don't have that one-on-one attention with the professors as much."
De Aguero has been successful in graduating her players, and sending them off to four-year colleges, and universities. This past season, she helped five of her sophomores get a scholarship to continue their education, and athletic career at a four-year school.
"When I see that the athlete has reached their potential, and they have been molded into the player I know they can be. It's probably one of the greatest feelings as a coach, and it's rewarding. To be able to push that student-athlete not to where you want them to be, but where they can actually see where they can be and they believe that they can get there, and they are there. That's probably the best feeling ever," said De Aguero.