Getting to Know … Danielle O’Toole

USD Assistant Softball Coach Danielle O'Toole

AGE: 24

HOMETOWN: Upland, Calif.

CREDENTIALS: As assistant coach of USD Softball, O’Toole brings some serious clout to the Torero dugout. Need proof? Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find any other coach in the West Coast Conference — or any program in the country, for that matter — who is a current member of Team USA Softball and a former PAC 12 pitcher of the year. “It’s been a great opportunity to come to USD and work with the team. I love the game, and want to share that passion with the girls. Softball has given me a lot, and continues to give me a lot.”

LASER FOCUS: Spend any time with O’Toole, and it’s quickly apparent that softball is more than just a game to her — it’s everything. Well … just about everything. “What do I like to do when I’m not coaching or playing? Wow, I don’t really know. My work as a coach and my team USA responsibilities take up all of my time. Oh, and I’m getting married, so that’s pretty much it. Softball and wedding planning. And lying on the couch if I have any time to rest, which never really happens”

MOTHERLY MENTOR: Not many 4-year-olds aspire to become professional softball pitchers, but O’Toole had an undeniable passion for the sport from day one — and she didn’t have to look far for inspiration and motivation. “My mom was a really good softball player at UCSD, and she was my pitching coach growing up. We clashed a bit from time to time, but she was and is so knowledgeable about the game, and I feel like I have a great opportunity to teach the girls the best of what she taught me, as well as what I’ve drawn from my own experiences playing.”

TOKYO OR BUST: Ever since she was a little girl, O’Toole has dreamed about playing softball for Team USA in the Olympics. And after a 12-year hiatus, the sport is back on the summer games schedule of events. O’Toole knows she has a shot at achieving her lifelong goal, but plenty of work still needs to be done between now and Opening Ceremonies in Tokyo in 2020. “We played a really intense, 10-inning game with Japan at last year’s World Cup in order to qualify. I know the team is in, but I’m not guaranteed a spot, so I need to keep requalifying to keep my spot. You’re having to prove yourself all the time. It’s really stressful.”

STAR STRUCK: While at the University of Arizona, O’Toole had an opportunity to train with perhaps the most well-known USA softball player of all-time, Jennie Finch. It’s not every day you get a chance to meet one of your idols, let alone run through pitching drills with them, and it’s clear O’Toole treasures the experience. “When I found out I was going to be training with Jennie, I just sat in my car and started crying. I looked up to her so much growing up, and to have the chance to work with her on drills and technique was just crazy. I’m so thankful I got that chance. She was awesome!”

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