“As a first-year coach, I’m learning what I do well and what I don’t do so well,” she said.
Brandt, a native of Eunice who played softball at Eunice High, said she has a set philosophy when it comes to leadership.
“It’s about building them up after they’ve been beat down,” she said. “I never had a positive coach... I don’t like to, in a game and in front of mom and dad, start yelling at them. Most of the time, they know what they did wrong. They don’t need me to tell the whole stands what they did.
“Now, at practice, you may get three more buckets of balls like the one you missed... But being lazy, not having a good work ethic or a good attitude, that upsets me more than an error because I know you don’t mean to make an error.”
The Lady Wildcats are 1-5 on the 2012 season and are beginning play in the packed District 9-3A.
Brandt said she understands that her team’s district contains powerhouse teams with solid reputations. She said she is setting achievable goals for this season on which she hopes to build incrementally.
“We’re at the foundational level right now because we’re working on foundational skills,” she said. “My goal has always been to win at least four district games. I feel that’s possible. But, we need to work.
“If we can achieve that this year, then next year it gets bigger.”
Brandt comes to her position at AHS naturally, as she has worked as a special education teacher in Vermilion Parish for 10 years.
She got her start in education and coaching at Breaux Bridge, but got her start in Vermilion Parish as an assistant basketball coach at Abbeville High under current Kaplan High principal Laura LeBeouf.
“The basketball tradition was really good here,” said Brandt. “But, softball is my passion. A position opened at the junior high level (coaching softball at J.H. Williams) so I took it. I’ve been doing that for five years.... I haven’t coached the seniors (at Abbeville) but I’ve coached the sophomores.
“They just need encouragement. Most of these kids are A-B students... They don’t know how to make a B. It’s very difficult for them because we’re not the best,” she said.
Now that she’s finally at the helm of a softball program, Brandt said she has no intentions of relinquishing the reins any time soon.
“We may not be one of the best teams in the state,” she said. “But, you could offer me any position in the state and I’d stay right here. This is where I want to be. I want to wear the red... This is my field. My friends joke and call it Margo’s Field.”