ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – After graduating an 11-member senior class that advanced to three consecutive NCAA Regional Finals, the Knights are a relatively young squad this year.
With nine freshmen on the squad, the coaching staff was looking to establish motivation for the team entering the season, while reaffirming the values of the program. Over the summer, assistant coach Tiffany Jordan came up with the phrase Play Gold. That mantra has been incorporated into every facet of the program.
"Everybody in the nation can throw, hit and pitch, but what are we going to do to set us apart from everybody else?" Jordan asked. "It's doing the extra little things that are going to propel us to accomplish our goals."
Each player's attention to detail is particularly important because even the smallest adjustment can lead to success. The mental approach and concentration of a team must stay positive even when individuals, or the entire squad, are facing tough circumstances.
"Play Gold is all about doing the things that we can't teach," Jordan said. "It's the intangibles, like having the heart, motivation, self-dedication and desire to do the right thing. Most importantly, it's about holding your teammates accountable and finding it within yourself to make your team better every single day."

This mentality is not only important for the players to show on the field, but also expected from them in the classroom as they prepare for their careers after softball.
The senior leadership of Brittany Solis and Linnea Goodman have encouraged the younger members of the squad to develop a positive outlook through Play Gold. The creation of the #PlayGold hastag for use on social media shows that the entire team has bought into the mindset.
Junior Megan Greenwell was inspired by the ideas behind Play Gold. The Miami, Fla., native brought the mindset to life by creating this video as a part of an internship with the UCF Athletic Communications office.
The infielders also have a reminder in their lockers with a whiteboard that details what they want to be known for individually and as a group.
First-year associate head coach Corrie Hill immediately noticed the culture that head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie has incorporated into the program.
"I have seen this team do a lot together off the field," assistant coach Corrie Hill said. "They are invested in all aspects of the program, which includes becoming better people, giving back to the community and building their bond together as a team."
Coach Jordan, from her experience as a student-athlete, knows that Play Gold is one of the things that the current Knights will remember when looking back on their careers.
"We are looking to instill the values of working hard and earning everything, while having that desire to win," Jordan said.
The Knights will bring this Play Gold mindset to the field in the season opener on Friday. UCF faces Florida A&M and Pittsburgh in a doubleheader at 3:30 p.m. at the UCF Softball Complex. The Black and Gold face No. 20 Kentucky to start a twinbill on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. as apart of the UCF Knights Invitational.

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