Lisa Norris, 22, recently completed her fastpitch softball career with the North Carolina Tar Heels, then spent this past summer as a rookie in the National Pro Fastpitch League, where she earned All-NPF honors for the Akron Racers. She was a three-time All-ACC selection at UNC, where she currently works as a student assistant.
The 2005 Brookwood grad had her high school jersey retired on Monday by the Broncos, who she led to a 95-15 record in four seasons. She was a three-time Daily Post player of the year who set a number of county records, including a season ERA of 0.11.
In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," Norris talks with sports editor Will Hammock about her jersey retirement, pro softball and her future in coaching.
WH: What was it like to see your No. 26 jersey hanging up there on the wall (at Brookwood's field)? Brookwood doesn't retire jerseys too often and you're the first in softball.
LN: It's just a huge honor. It just brings so much joy to me, kind of like having butterflies in your stomach.
WH: Were you nervous?
LN: I was extremely nervous. I didn't know what was going to go on. I didn't know if I had to give a speech or something. I was kind of freaking out about that. Everyone was just telling me to relax, it was going to be a great moment. And it was.
WH: What were your best memories of high school softball?
LN: Probably the girls, all of our hard work and everything. And coach (Bill Batchelor), (his wife) Coley and his family. Everything was just a true memory. I still remember everything about it. It was a lot of fun.
WH: Do you ever wonder how you didn't win a high school state title?
LN: Yes. Or an ACC title? Yes. I've thought about that. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.
WH: You had some great teams though.
LN: All of our teams were great. All four years. We just always fell short at the end.
WH: How different are you now as a pitcher compared to high school? Has much changed?
LN: I don't think I'm much different. I feel like I'm still intimidating. People still tell me that. I don't think anything's really changed. I might play around more with a batter now than I did back then.
WH: Did you ever think you'd be playing pro softball?
LN: It wasn't really anything I thought I'd be doing. I thought I'd play some in college and be done with it. They asked me to do this and I just loved everything about the Akron Racers. I'm going to go back again and play next summer and see how long that will last. Hopefully that will last a few years.
WH: You see some big-name softball players in that league. Can you believe you're playing with some of them?
LN: Not at all. I was on the team with Crystl Bustos. She's a legend. I played against Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman, all of them. I never dreamed of playing with any of them. They're so nice. You get to know everyone in the league because you play them so many games.
WH: Did anyone stand out more than others? Like hey, I can't believe I'm playing with her.
LN: Probably Crystl Bustos. Playing with her, I would never expect that she's very humble and she's so great at teaching. She tries to teach you the game instead of telling you what to do, which is nice.
WH: Is Jennie Finch as hot in person as she looks on TV?
LN: Yeah, she is. Don't put that in there. But yeah, she is.
WH: You're a student assistant at UNC. Do you plan to go into coaching?
LN: Hopefully I can coach at the college level. That's what I'm looking for.
WH: What do you like about coaching?
LN: I just want to stay around the game of softball. All the memories I have, I think I can teach a lot to girls and hopefully have a good influence on them.
WH: You're still pretty young to be a college assistant. Will it be crazy to coach players who are barely younger than you?
LN: It will be weird because I know all of them. That will be the weird thing. I'm not doing as much coaching. I'll point some things. But I'll be there, getting some experience under my belt.
WH: So you fill the water bucket and stuff?
LN: No, I don't do that. I get the ball bucket (laughing).
WH: What coaches do you look up to?
LN: I look up to Coach Batchelor a lot. He's been a great coach and he's taught me a lot about life. All my coaches at UNC did the same thing and so did my coach with the Akron Racers. They've taught me a lot about life and so much about the mental side of softball.
WH: How long do you feel like you can play pro softball?
LN: I would like to play for a few more years. Hopefully until I'm about 30. We'll see if the arm can hold up that long. Health-wise I'm great. I had a few injuries in college but for the most part my health has been great.