Lincoln Trail College Associate Head Coach Erica Arnold has been promoted to head coach of the Lady Statesmen, effective immediately following the retirement of Gary Rodgers from coaching. Rodgers will transition into a new position at LTC, Director of Athletic Grounds.
“Coaching at the college level has been my dream since the beginning of my coaching career,” says Arnold. “I am forever grateful to Lincoln Trail College for allowing me this opportunity, it means the world to me. Also, thank you to President Gower, Coach Bowers, Coach Rodgers, and the rest of the faculty and staff at LTC for helping this transition go smoothly and for accepting me into the Statesmen family.”
Arnold joined Lincoln Trail College in the Summer of 2019 after serving as the head coach of North Central High School. She guided North Central to a 189-62 record. Under her tenure, North Central won five sectionals, three regionals, two semi-states and made two state finals appearances. Her 2015 team won the Class 2A state championship. Her 2018 team finished as the runner-up in Class A.
“I have several goals for the Statesmen softball program but there are two that I feel are the most important. First, I want to ensure that my athletes excel on and off the field, reaching their fullest potential. I want to provide opportunities for them to grow and develop not only as athletes but as people. I will accomplish this by building strong relationships with each athlete and by creating a safe and challenging learning environment. Second, I will work towards building a strong culture. I want the program to be recognized as positive and high performing. There is so much to offer at Lincoln Trail and I am so proud to be a small part of all the wonderful things happening here.”
Rodgers had been the head coach of the Lady Statesmen since 2015 and has been coaching softball for a total of 46 years at many levels including summer recreation, travel softball, high school, and college.
“One of the things I take a lot of pride in with coaching is you get to see how players develop,” says Rodgers. “When kids first start playing the game, you never know how far it will take them. I love to see how players grow mentally, physically, and athletically. It’s very good to see the rewards they get from all of their hard work.”
In addition to coaching the Lady Statesmen since 2015, he also coached LTC from 1984-1990. He guided LTC to the NJCAA Tournament in 1988. His 2015-16 team was the NJCAA’s Academic Team of the Year. Rodgers served as the head coach at Olney Central from 2000-06 and was the head coach at St. Mary of the Woods College from 2006-2013. At SMWC, Rodgers set a school record with 187 wins and guided the Pomeroys to two USCAA National Championships, three runner-up finishes, and one third-place finish.
Rodgers will take over as the Director of Athletic Grounds for Lincoln Trail College. He’ll be responsible for preparing athletic fields and facilities for practices, games, and special events.
Rodgers says he’s had a passion for working with athletic fields ever since he was a young boy. “I’ve been very aware of athletic fields all of my life. I’ve always thought about the best ways to develop a field, the best ways to maintain them, keep them mowed right, and keep the lines straight.”
One of the first tasks for Rodgers will be the development of Statesmen Park. The first phase of the project will be putting in two regulation soccer fields this year and then adding a new softball diamond in 2022.
“I’m honored to stay on with LTC and develop this project. The soccer fields need to be ready by August. When we’re done, this is going to be a very nice sports complex for the College. We want ours to be as good as or better than anybody else’s and I know we’ll have a nice facility that our kids can be proud to play on.”