Richardson and Meyer stay in Gophers dugout

The two alumni are back with the team as undergraduate assistants this year.

Kaitlyn Richardson throws her bat after a base hit against Wisconsin on April 7, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

Jaak Jensen, Daily File Photo

Kaitlyn Richardson throws her bat after a base hit against Wisconsin on April 7, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.

by Emily Polglaze

Kaitlyn Richardson and Erica Meyer played for the Gophers for four seasons, but after running out of eligibility, they weren’t in any rush to leave campus.
Richardson and Meyer, both members of head coach Jessica Allister’s first recruiting class, are serving as undergraduate assistants for the softball team this year.
“I was spoiled rotten getting to coach them for four years, so I wasn’t ready to see them leave,” Allister said. “They do a little bit of everything, and it’s been wonderful to have them around.”
The pair both had successful careers with the Gophers before assuming their new roles. 
Meyer finished her senior season by setting career highs in batting average, runs, hits, doubles and RBIs. She was second on the team in runs with 50 as a senior.
Richardson started all 224 games of her career at Minnesota. She was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive team as a senior after committing zero errors at first base.
Her career batting average of .388 ranks third in school history, and her .678 slugging percentage ranks first.
Richardson was taken in the first round and fifth overall in the National Pro Fastpitch College Draft by the Dallas Charge, and she spent the summer after her senior year with the team. 
Meyer and Richardson both had coursework to finish after leaving the Gophers and spoke to Allister and the staff about coming on as undergraduate assistants.
Meyer, a Minnesota native, said sticking around was a no-brainer for her, and Richardson wanted to stay despite hailing from Arizona.
“Minnesota has always been something I’ve been so passionate about,” Richardson said. “It grew to be a part of me and who I was. I’m forever grateful to Coach Allister for allowing me to do this. It’s fun learning and being on a different side of things.”
Richardson said she sees her role as almost an internship because she wants to go into coaching in the future. She’s now privy to staff meetings and conversations she wasn’t before, and it’s helped her understand the game better.
Meyer doesn’t share the same aspirations, but she said she’s been happy to play a mentorship role on the team.
“College athletics are a special experience, and everyone who’s been through it fully appreciates it and misses it,” Meyer said. “Not many people get that opportunity, so you want to stay around. It’s a big privilege.”