“I really want that one.” That was Caitlyn de la Haba’s first thought when she found out that the Lafayette College Leopards were looking for a new head coach this summer.
Then the top assistant at George Mason, de la Haba wasn’t searching for a new job. “I was in a good position at George Mason,” she said. “Lafayette was the only position that I applied for.”
Before accepting the position at George Mason, de la Haba had experience in the Patriot League as an assistant coach at Lehigh. She said that played a significant factor in applying for the position as Leopards head coach.
“Having been in the Patriot League with Lehigh, I was familiar with the conference and the program,” de la Haba said. “Academics are important in this conference and they take precedence, and that’s something that is important to me.”
De la Haba said there were quite a number of positive factors that went into her decision to apply for the position and ultimately accept the job. “Some schools are not in a great location, but Lafayette is in one of the best locales. It’s a building program with room to grow, and place where I’m able to teach and coach.”
A former pitcher at Villanova and the pitching coach at George Mason, de la Haba expects to hold the duties of head coach and pitching coach at Lafayette, at least immediately. “Being the head coach and pitching coach will get easier the more I do it, I think,” de la Haba said. “It will still be very challenging.”
Ultimately, de la Haba hopes that the pitch-calling duties will leave the dugout entirely. “I talked to [George Mason head coach Joe Verbanic] about balancing between the two, being pitching and head coach. Eventually, I’d like to train our pitchers and catchers to call their own game. I think they also like having that responsibility.”
“One of our biggest goals is to make the Patriot League tournament,” de la Haba said. “Being a consistent contender for the conference tournament is a goal, and doable. We want to create an environment that is positive and successful for current players.”
Lafayette and de la Haba will kick off the 2018 season on February 23 against Youngstown State in Hampton, Virginia.