Orr replaces Wiggins as FAMU softball coach

Special to the Outlook

FAMU’s softball team didn’t avoid the shakeup in sports caused by coronavirus.

The pandemic left coach Veronica Wiggins without the big finale that was anticipated to mark the end of her lengthy career at the helm. She however made her exit from working the sidelines for the Rattlers, but her fingerprint will still be on certain aspect of athletics.

Wiggins was retained as Director of Player Development and Alumni Affairs for FAMU Athletics. Within five days of that announcement, FAMU confirmed last Friday that Constance Orr, who worked under Wiggins, will become her replacement. 

“We are excited about the continuity Coach Orr will bring to our team,” said Athletic Director Kortne Gosha.  “It was clear that the foundation of our softball program was solid and very important that we developed a long term plan.”

Special to the Outlook

FAMU’s softball team didn’t avoid the shakeup in sports caused by coronavirus.

The pandemic left coach Veronica Wiggins without the big finale that was anticipated to mark the end of her lengthy career at the helm. She however made her exit from working the sidelines for the Rattlers, but her fingerprint will still be on certain aspect of athletics.

Wiggins was retained as Director of Player Development and Alumni Affairs for FAMU Athletics. Within five days of that announcement, FAMU confirmed last Friday that Constance Orr, who worked under Wiggins, will become her replacement. 

“We are excited about the continuity Coach Orr will bring to our team,” said Athletic Director Kortne Gosha.  “It was clear that the foundation of our softball program was solid and very important that we developed a long term plan.”

Gosha said Orr is the right fit and right philosophy to take the program to the next level. During her 29-year career at FAMU, Wiggins won 13 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships.

Constance Orr

“I am truly honored and blessed to have this opportunity to be the next head softball coach at Florida A&M,” Orr said “I want to thank Coach Wiggins for her wisdom, encouragement, and belief in me to continue building such a powerful program that she has built.”

Orr, a native of Charlotte, N.C., was a standout softball player at the University of North Carolina. During her playing career, Orr was named to the 2013 All-ACC and the 2013 All-ACC Tournament teams.

She started 60 games, playing primarily at third base when she wasn’t playing as a pitcher. She had 6-2 record. During one week of her 2013 season, she drove in 11 runs and had three multiple-run homer games, including a grand slam.  After that week, she was named ACC Player of the Week.

During that season, she led the Tar Heels with 50 runs-batted-in and 62 hits, with a .959 fielding percentage.

Veronica Wiggins

In her new role as Director of Student-athlete development, Wiggins will assist with housing, life skills, the FAMU Hall of Fame, and former- student-athlete engagement. 

“Coach Wiggins is a wealth of knowledge and it was incumbent for us to keep coach around for a bit longer,” Gosha said.

During her FAMU coaching career that spans from 1992-2020, Wiggins compiled a 774-904 overall record. Her team made 11 NCAA postseason appearances.  

She was the MEAC’s Coach of the Year five times and was Outstanding MEAC Tournament Coach 13 times. 

Wiggins, who helped   transition the game from slow-pitch to fast-pitch in the late 1980s, also mentored several young coaches throughout her career. Wiggins developed and maintained ties within the softball coaching community, as she consistently scheduled demanding non-conference opponents to test her players and prepare them for conference play, as well as postseason possibilities.

As focused as she was on sustaining the on-field success of her program, she was equally focused on the development and maturation of her players into confident and capable young women. Wiggins oversaw the team’s academic study sessions and monitored their academic progress throughout their time at FAMU.

In addition, Wiggins’ team were involved in community service activities throughout the years and held several softball clinics for area youngsters. This passion for helping young people originated from her formative years as the eldest sister in her family.

Three of her former players are members of the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame – pitcher Amber Alford, who was inducted into the MEAC Hall of Fame in 2012, along with pitcher Danielle Brown and third baseman Kimberly Browning, who were enshrined in 2014. Wiggins, herself, was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Outlook writer St. Clair Murraine contributed to this report.


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