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Riverview coach gets her due

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 13, 2000


RIVERVIEW -- Angela Slater's hard work and dedication to softball -- both high school and club -- in Hillsborough County has earned her the respect and admiration of players and coaches at almost every school.

Finally, after 17 years, it also earned her a state championship. And it has earned her the honor of Times All-Suncoast Softball Coach of the Year.

Slater switched from Brandon, where she coached for 15 years, to Riverview when it opened two years ago.

What she found when she got there was a group of girls that needed to be turned into a team. Some had played softball before, some hadn't. Some knew each other, most didn't. Slater began molding.

At the end of her second season, the finished product included a 27-7 record, a streak in which her team won 16 of 17 games, and the first state title in school history.

The Sharks' title came at the end of a season in which they rebounded from an 0-2 start to win the Spring Fling tournament and then go on to exact revenge over Palm Harbor University, the team that beat them in last season's district final.

Through it all, Slater was the model of consistency she has come to be known for during the past decade and a half of pacing the coach's box. As she said following her team's state tournament celebration, you never know what's going to happen next.

"We told the kids to enjoy it because you never know what can happen," Slater said. "A lot of people think that because you have a young club that you're going to win a state title year after year. But that is not the way it always works out."

For Slater, for one year, everything finally worked out.

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