GLENSIDE - Arcadia University softball coach Linda Detra - the winningest softball coach in school history - hit an important milestone April 15 when she coached her 400th victory as the Knights defeated Gwynedd-Mercy College 9-2.
For Detra, who grew up in Juniata County, the the road to 400 wins was an exciting and enjoying ride.
"It was great," Detra said. "It was fun and it took a while to get there, but it was all fun stuff."
Arcadia University’s Linda Detra, center, speaks with her players at a game this past season. Detra won her 400th career coaching victory in a game against Gwynedd-Mercy College on April 15. Detra is originally from Juniata County.
Detra attended went on from Juniata to Lock Haven University. The lessons Detra learned from high school and college are things she still holds dear to her today.
"One of the biggest lessons I learned was that winning is fun but it's not everything," Detra said. "You always play to win, but you don't lose focus and I had great coaches at Juniata High School and at Lock Haven University.
"One of my coaches, Dr. Charlotte Smith, was probably one of the best coaches I've ever had, not because she taught us that much in skill, but because she never raised her voice, was a lady and was respected by the opposition, the officials and I can't imagine how may games she won at Lock Haven, but she was a great role model for me."
As much as Detra has enjoyed her 400 wins, for her winning isn't as important as the friendships and bonds she's made with her players over the years.
"That's the best part of the experience," Detra said. "Wins are wins but the important thing is that you influence your players and give them a good experience and teach them life lessons and more than the winning it's the players you coach."
While many would've noticed this milestone as it approached, Detra wasn't concerned at all and almost missed out on the opportunity to celebrate.
"I really never even thought about this," Detra said. "In fact we didn't even notice the 100-win mark and the first one we really noticed was the 200 win," Detra said. "I belong to a national coaching organization and they send you a plaque for like 200, 300, 400, but I didn't notice when the first hundred came, we actually had to look back to make sure, that's how we figured out the 100 and 200 I think."
Although most coaches want to win and want to see their players succeed on the field, Detra is more interested in making sure her players take the lessons they learned in college off the field and into life.
"I think the biggest lesson to be learned is, you're representing your school, your family and your coaches," Detra said. "So don't embarrass anybody, never give up, play hard but also play with respect to your opponent, officials and respect the game and all the rules with it."
During Detra's illustrious career at Arcadia University she's coached one player of the year, 11 all-region athletes, three All-American selections, two conference rookies of the year and more than 50 all-academic and all-conference players. Detra's Knights have also made 10 Pennsylvania Athletic Conference tournament appearances, but there is something she still wants to do in her career.
"I'd like to get to the NCAA championships, but it's a lot of good teams out there, which makes it tough to do," Detra said. "That would be a personal goal, but certainly not my most important goal, that would be enriching the players experience and what they remember about the program, remembering the good times they had with their team and making life-long friends.
"These are usually the friends that they're going to make for life you know. The people that are going to be at their weddings and who they raise their children with."