Boston University softball coach Shawn Rychcik will be leaving Boston for North Carolina, as he has accepted a job offer to coach at North Carolina State University next year.
The coach, who spent eight years at the helm of the Terrier softball program and two years before that as an assistant, said that it is not easy saying goodbye to the place he has coached for the past ten years.
“I’m just so thankful for everything BU has done for me and I’m really proud where we put the program,” Rychcik said. “I really feel like it is in a better place than when I took over. I’m really, really thankful for everything BU has given me. It is going to be hard to leave.”
Rychcik, who finished his BU career with a 271-159-1, finished his final season as the coach of the Terriers (41-16, 15-3 America East) with his third America East championship in the past four years, making the NCAA regional tournament for the third time. BU went 1-2 at the regional with a win over Iona College.
“This year was really a lot of fun,” Rychcik said. “It had a lot of great moments and it had some great wins. But it is a cumulative experience that I’ll leave here with. I worked with some great people throughout the department. Every year is special.”
However, while he said every year is special, he also noted that his favorite part of coaching at BU came after each season.
“All of the kids that I’ve had come through graduate and they are on to their careers,” Rychcik said. “I think that is just as rewarding as any win I have ever had. That the girls that got their degrees and are now very successful in the real world, I think that is rewarding to me as well.”
At this point, Rychcik said he does not know what will happen with his assistants Katie Grimes and Bill McDonald. Rychcik said he expected McDonald, a Somerville native and a BU graduate, to try to remain in Boston pending the decision of the incoming coach. However, he said he is going to try to bring Grimes with him to N.C. State.
“I think it’s just something that we are in the beginning works of figuring all of that out but they are both really good coaches and if I had my way I would probably take them both with me, but I’m not sure how that is going to all work,” Rychcik said. “It’s just really in that process to see if everybody or anybody is coming with me, but I know both of them have a place on my staff any time they want.”
Rychcik will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, which is more prestigious than America East or the Patriot League. The ACC had two teams in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 last year in Florida State University (No. 20) the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (No. 21).
N.C. State (23-31, 5-15 ACC) finished in seventh place in their conference last season under former coach Lisa Navas, and has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2007. Now that Rychcik is at the helm of the team, he has made it his goal to make it back to the tournament and beyond.
“There is some work to be done at N.C. State but I also want to – it’s going to be a process,” Rychcik said. “I want that opportunity to challenge myself in a bigger conference and better competition and maybe compete more nationally. Maybe get myself to the World Series. That would be a goal, and that is the goal of the department there.
As Rychcik leaves, BU will begin its search for a new coach. However, Rychcik said that he believes the administration will keep the Terriers’ softball program on top.
“I just think the program is set up to win for a while,” Rychcik said. “Its reputation nationally now, it is recognized as one of the better programs across the country — one of the top two or three mid-majors in the country for sure.
“I would love to see this program grow and I’m proud of what I did there. I would just love to see it continue to grow.”