Lynch makes her own mark at Winston-Salem State


Nikki Lynch has become a leader on and off the field for the Rams.


Nikki Lynch was raised in Wilmington sports. Her father, Fred Lynch, retired after last season, his 26th as head boys’ basketball coach at Laney, and remains director of athletics. Mr. Lynch was an assistant when Michael Jordan starred for Laney. Her dad may be one of the most successful coaches in Wilmington, but Nikki is paving her own way.

After earning all-conference honors in three sports (softball, basketball, volleyball) for the Buccaneers, Lynch decided to pursue softball on the next level. Highly recruited out of high school, Lynch committed to play for Winston-Salem State University.

Despite having a vocal leader/coach as a father, Lynch had never had a female coach prior to college. The change in coaching style took some getting use to for Lynch.

“Freshman year, I had to get used to a new coach,” said Lynch. “I always had a male as a coach. I knew what he would demand from me and how it was going to be. I think girls had to deal with a lot of extra stuff that male coaches didn’t really have to worry about. ”

Through an adjustment period, Lynch realized that it wasn’t about male or female, but what her coach was doing to guide her new team in a positive direction.

“It was her way, her team,” said Lynch. “We had to get on her page and do what she was asking from us,” said Lynch. “But through her efforts, she focused on getting us together and because of it, we played better as a team.”

The change in coaching philosophy wasn’t the only aspect of her game she had to adapt. As many players realize once they begin competing at the college level against other college athletes, it’s a whole new ballgame.

“It’s so much faster,” said Lynch. “I had to learn to be more versatile.”

Following in her father’s footsteps, Lynch has become a leader on and off the field for the Rams. Known for leading by example, the silent assassin broke out of her shell by making her presence felt. But at first, it wasn’t easy for the coach’s daughter.

“I wasn’t comfortable in that role as a freshman,” said Lynch. “But I grew into that position and I know my role as a leader on and off the field. I am more vocal than before. I try to keep everyone calm let them breathe. I still lead by example, staying out of trouble and meetings; I try not to be a topic of conversation. I have an understanding that what I do affects the team.”

Lynch had an outstanding junior year. Starting all 51 games, Lynch batted .421 and had a .607 slugging percentage with three home runs, 47 RBI, and 39 runs. Lynch was an All-CIAA performer the past two seasons.

Through the ups and downs, Lynch continues to stay the course, leading the Rams into the new season through faith in herself and her teammates.

“I’ve learned that changes are going to happen,” said Lynch. “You just have to roll with the punches, work hard, and enjoy yourself.”