WOODLAND (CBS13) — A local woman is breaking barriers in Major League Baseball, becoming the first female coach in history.
The San Francisco Giants made the announcement Thursday that they were bringing 29-year-old Alyssa Nakken onboard as an assistant coach.
“Softball was her love and what she did for 19 years,” her mom Gaye Nakken said.
Alyssa Nakken was born and raised in Woodland. She was a standout pitcher for the Woodland Wolves and heavily recruited by colleges.
“She could hit the ball a country mile to all fields, left and right and center. She was an athlete who could fly around the bases,” said Lori Perez who was the assistant softball coach at Sacramento State when Alyssa was on the team.
Congratulations to former @SacStSoftball star Alyssa Nakken (2009-12), who was named assistant coach for the @SFGiants! Nakken, who was a 4-time all-conference selection as a Hornet, will become the first full-time female coach in @MLB history. #StingersUp pic.twitter.com/CTaFjjWmYH
— Hornet Athletics (@hornetsports) January 16, 2020
Alyssa earned top honors as a three-time All-Conference first baseman. But it was her demeanor and delivery that made Perez know right away Alyssa was destined for greatness.
“She has that charismatic personality. She has the ability to communicate well, she knows the game,” said Perez.
She watched as Alyssa entered the graduate program in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco then turned an internship with the San Francisco Giants organization into a paying job.
So when Nakken got called to be the first woman to coach on a big-league staff, Perez wasn’t surprised and neither was Alyssa’s mom.
Swipe through pictures from Nakkens’ days as a Hornet
“She’s always wanted to trailblaze for women,” said Gaye Nakken.
Nakken knew her daughter had the mental toughness for the job and could handle herself. She has two older brothers whom she always had to keep up with. Even so, her mom said, “There were a few tears and it was just amazing!”
She is confident Alyssa will make the transition and so are her coaches. They predict tough days, because telling a male baseball player what to do may not always fly, but Alyssa will succeed.
“It’s all about knowing your player..knowing what motivates them and speaking the type of language that motivates them,” said Perez.
And after all that dedication and determination, they know it’s a dream come true.
“She’s worked very hard to get to this type of position, and she really wanted to be an advocate for women and young girls,” her mother said.