Christy Dukehart played softball for Belmont from 1997-2001 and was an important part of the program’s transition from NAIA to NCAA Division I era. She was the team’s top starting pitcher throughout her four year career and currently ranks in the top-10 in school history in six different categories (appearances, innings pitched, ERA, strikeouts, shutouts and complete games). Christy recently spoke with Belmont Athletics about her time as a Bruin and her present role as a softball coach in New England.
Why did you choose Belmont?
Belmont offered everything I was looking for – an opportunity to compete at the Division 1 level against some of the best teams in the country, all while earning a quality degree and developing real-world skills that would help me to succeed in my career and life. Additionally, I loved the proximity to the city of Nashville. The culture and vibe was so different than anywhere I had lived before, I loved it!
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
While there are several games that come to mind, the fondest memories I have are those with my teammates and fellow athletes. I loved the sense of community, as well as the support athletes and teams would give to one another. Those are the memories I’ll always keep close to my heart.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont? How?
Several people influenced me during my athletic career at Belmont. My pitching coach, Cheri Kempf, played a large role in helping me to improve my pitching so that I could compete and do well for my team. My teammates also influenced me. I put everything I had into practice so that I could be the best for them, I wanted to do everything I could to help my team win. And lastly, my parents were a big influence. No matter how much things changed year to year, they were a constant guiding light to help me stay focused on my goals and what actions I needed to take to achieve those goals.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
Belmont was the gateway for my interest in traveling to experience different cultures. Growing up in New England for most of my life, I had only traveled outside of the northeast for softball tournaments. Being at Belmont allowed me to not just visit, but to fully immerse my life in a different part of the country, which was an entirely new experience for me. I now love to travel to different parts of the country and of the world. When I’m there, I of course take in the sites and local cuisines, but I love to meet and talk with local people and learn about the city or country they call home. Every place I visit and person I meet, not only do I learn something new, but I also grow as a person.
What advice would you give to current members of the softball team?
I would want them to know that life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and that if they trust in God’s plan for them, to enjoy the ride! Additionally, I would want to tell them that time goes so fast, so be sure to enjoy these four years and experience as much as Belmont has to offer.
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
Professor Tully in the English Department. She challenged me in a way I had never been pushed before academically, so much so that I always found myself looking forward to class, even though it was always one of the hardest!
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer?
After graduating from Belmont, I attended the Graduate School of Professional Accounting at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where I earned both my MSA (Master of Science in Accounting) and MBA. Upon graduation, I sat and passed the CPA exam and worked in the accounting and finance field for 10 years.
Currently, I work as the Assistant Softball Coach at Trinity College. Additionally, I own my own business, Strikezone Softball Academy, where I coach girls of all ages in various softball skills, including pitching, hitting, and fielding/throwing. At the Academy, I strive to develop young girls into talented softball players with great fundamental skills, athleticism and game smarts. However, I also try to help build well rounded student-athletes by way of example in academics, attitude, and effort.
Tell us about your family.
I have the most adorable 3 year-old yorkie named Asher. He is full of life and energy, fiercely protective of me, and keeps me on my toes! However, he is very loving and I can’t imagine life without him.