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Hornets On the Rise
Alyssa Nakken

In January 2020, former Sacramento State softball player Alyssa Nakken ’12 made history. This Hornet became the first full-time female coach in Major League Baseball and the first female coach in the Giants organization.

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First MLB female coach learned how to be a leader at Sac State

I am very proud of Alyssa, said former Sacramento State head coach Kathy Strahan. As her coach, I knew early that she would blaze new trails and do something groundbreaking. Her positive energy, intellect, and a tremendous drive to succeed are an invaluable asset to the Giants players and organization. Prior to being promoted to full-time coach, Nakken served numerous roles with the Giants: developing, producing, and directing a number of the organization’s health and wellness initiatives and events, including coordinating the Giant Race series.

She credits her accomplishments with the Giants to her experience at Sac State where she was part of a diverse student body, had the opportunity to learn to work alongside others, and learned that being a leader means working side-by-side with others and being open to improving oneself. As a team captain at Sac State, your responsibility is to be a liaison between players and coaching staff, she said. I learned so much about how to have difficult conversations and how to build and gain trust.

Growing up in Woodland, California, Nakken always heard about Sac State and thought of it as her “safety school.” Instead, she had her eyes set on attending bigger schools like UCLA, Stanford, or an Ivy League. However, when she was a junior and started touring schools, meeting coaches, and talking with potential teammates, she knew immediately that Sac State was the place for her.

At Sac State Nakken excelled in the classroom and on the field. She was named the conference’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2012 for her academic and athletic accomplishments as well as community service involvement. Nakken credits the opportunities at Sac State, to learn inside and outside the classroom, for developing her into the person she is today.

Sac State is definitely my second home, said Alyssa. Anything I needed, I had the support. At Sac State, I learned that the job of a coach is to create environments for players to flourish. To develop into the best version of themselves. Through the dedication and commitment of staff, I was allowed to be myself there. To just be me.

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