2012 Director: Paula Oij

Paula Oij

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For Paula, finding enjoyment in her efforts as a director came while observing a large crowd of spectators and competitive players enjoying the game of softball. With over 70 men’s and women’s tournaments directed and half of them State Tournaments and NIT’s, Paula has reasons to feel good about her efforts.

Prior to her appointment as the Women’s State Coordinator in 1990 Paula worked in the State Office in 1987 and 1988. In 1989, Paula also worked as a Tournament or Site Director for the Men’s & Women’s State Tournaments and NIT’s held in the Rockford area. This cumulated a long career with the USSSA – as a player in 1977 thru 1986, as a coach in 1987 and 1988 and her appointment as the first Women’s State Coordinator in 1990.

Through her participation in many tournaments, Paula knew how important it was to play in a well-run tournament with good bracketing, well-qualified umpires and good playing conditions and there were none better than Ken Franzen at Forest Hills Diamonds. With that knowledge, she provided each team her best that played in her tournaments.

Paula’s most memorable tournament that she directed was the 1993 Women’s Class D State, when the winner of the tournament had lost their first game and came all the way back through the loser’s bracket in a 32-team field to win the championship.

Her funniest directorship situation occurred while she was helping Brenda run the Men’s Class E State Tournament. At the time, Paula was working for a local beer distributor, which had sponsored a team in the tournament. Unfortunately for Paula, this team was found to have an illegal shortstop and she had to be the one to forfeit the team out of the tournament. It was rather awkward for Paula when she went to work on Monday morning.

Paula ran the Women’s program from 1990 to 1999. During her tenure she was awarded the Illinois Rookie of the Year in 1990, Illinois Director’s All State Team in 1993 and 1997, Illinois State Directors Award in 1994 and Onesti’s Softball Super Show Award winner in 1998. During all these years she put her heart and soul into the Women’s Program and built a very large competitive program.

Paula’s most enjoyable factor of being a director has come through meeting so many great players and people involved in softball.