Colin Christiansen, previously a graduate assistant of University of Tennessee and undergraduate assistant coach at Mount St. Mary’s, became the new assistant softball coach at UMBC soon after coming out as gay.
Christiansen was inspired to be a softball coach after pitching to his older and younger sisters and becoming serious about it himself when he joined a men’s fast pitch softball league. He later began his softball coaching career at Mount St. Mary’s University as a freshman in college at 19, where his older sister also played softball at the time. He majored in sports management and minored in business administration.
“My older sister played travel softball, so I’ve been playing softball since I was 10. It was actually my freshman year of college where I played club soccer at Mount St. Mary’s. My older sister was a senior at Mount St. Mary’s. I ended up just getting involved, helping out if they asked me to. I can throw batting practice so I always kind of threw to my sister growing up, so I guess that’s how I got involved. I was manager freshman year and then I got promoted to undergraduate assistant coach my sophomore and junior years,” Christiansen stated.
“Mount St. Mary’s was definitely a special place in my heart. It was just a great environment and everyone was awesome there. I went to University of Tennessee to better my career, to really get trained by two Hall of Fame coaches and learn as much as I could.” Christiansen became a graduate assistant at University of Tennessee where he learned from co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly during the 2016 season. His main duty was to practice batting and was invited back to join the volunteers for two more seasons while obtaining his MBA.
“I liked it there a lot. It’s definitely a whole different world there, a Power Five conference. I learned tons of things I wouldn’t have learned at a smaller school. I learned from the best of both worlds because I bring that to a smaller school. I think it makes me pretty well rounded,” Christiansen said.
He came out in Fall 2014 as gay to his family and friends and wanted to come out professionally. He kept quiet at first, but took a chance and told his colleagues he was gay. This allowed him to be himself in Knoxville. When UMBC considered the hiring of Christiansen, they contacted “UCLA softball coach Kirk Walker, who was the first D1 softball coach to come out publicly in 2006” according to OutSports. Walker also runs Equality Coaching Alliance, an organization for LGBT coaches.
“When coming to UMBC, it was definitely about the timing. I learned everything that I was going to learn at University of Tennessee. I felt ready to take on a coaching job and I saw that there was an opening here. Everything kind of fell into place and felt that it worked out. Plus it’s close to home and I’m really close to my family. I’m a big family guy,” Christiansen stated.
When asked about how Christiansen likes UMBC, he stated, “Great. Everything’s positive and I love the people I work with, the staff is awesome, and we treat each other like family. The players are awesome.” Additionally, he was asked about how his coworkers and players at UMBC have aided him in his experiences, to which he replied, “Definitely a lot. I feel wherever you go, no matter what school you work at, everyone has something they can teach you.”
“They all have different types of knowledge in different aspects of the game. It’s definitely an uplifting and positive environment. This is my first experience really being my own with everything where my opinions are trusted. So they just encourage me to trust myself and lots of things like that.”