Farish Beard-Collura will become just the third member from the University of South Alabama softball program to join the Department’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
The two-time second-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association all-region selection and first-team all-Sun Belt performer is the school’s all-time leader in three categories with a 1.57 earned-run average, .148 opponents’ batting average and 9.28 strikeouts per seven innings. Beard-Collura also ranks third on the school’s career record list in wins (63) and shutouts (21), and is fourth in strikeouts (603) and innings pitched (454.2).
Beard-Collura went a perfect 23-0 her sophomore season en route to second-team all-region and all-Sun Belt honors. The 23 wins is the second highest season win total in program history. Beard-Collura will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony for the homecoming football matchup on Oct. 30 against Arkansas State.
Beard-Collura was surprised when she first found out about being inducted into the South Alabama Hall of Fame. “I was very shocked. I’m excited, “I remember going to all of the inductions while I was at South. It’s so cool hearing all of their stories and to think that I’ll be in their shoes and be on the same list as some of those incredible athletes is just incredible. It’s just such a great honor to even be considered. It just means the world. It was a shock and it’s just incredible. To have the opportunity to join so many big names is just amazing.”
Being inducted into the hall of fame was never something Beard-Collura sought out to achieve when she started her career at South Alabama.
No, absolutely not. I think it was kind of a joke for me, even preparing for games,” said Beard-Collura. “I treated everybody the same. I never wanted to know who the big-hitter was or watch out here. I just went up there thinking that each hitter coming up was a Bad News Bear. I think I just took the game and I had a lot of fun competing. So, when you think about the success, that was never the end goal obviously. But, it just goes to show that if you work hard and you enjoy competing in the game, it pays off.
Beard-Collura did, however, have some hall of fame inspiration when she was younger in addition to crediting her teammates.
“I would have to say when I was young and this is going to sound cliché but Jenny Finch was my inspiration. She was tall, she was a pitcher, she went out and took the game seriously and she was very successful. So, of course with me being tall and a pitcher, I was like that’s going to be me one day. I definitely looked up to her a lot. I also looked up to my own teammates. My teammates were very successful in what they did and pushed me to keep getting better. I think my teammates were a big part of pushing me to get to what I could be.” 
As the third member of the South Alabama softball program joining the South Alabama Hall of Fame, Beard-Collura joins two former teammates in Hannah Campbell (2019) and Brittany Fowler (2019) with the prestigious honor.
“I think it just goes to show why we had so much success during those years. It’s crazy that I get to join them because they were such amazing athletes, teammates, and leaders and created such a solid foundation for all of us. I think it’s a really cool thing that we get to be a part of.”
The three former teammates still stay in contact with one another. “Oh yeah, definitely,” said Beard-Collura. “Hannah, of course, I keep up with. I always joke with the coaching staff because Hannah is now a coach and they can never get rid of me. I go visit them all the time and they are like family. It’s the same with Brittany. She lives over here in Daphne. Now, we haven’t gotten together since we were at South, but we catch up and stay in touch on social media. Fowler now has a little boy too, so it’s kinda fun at this new stage of life.”
Those teams from 2012-2015 set the standard for where the program is today, according to Beard-Collura. She was part of a program that went 171-53 (76.3%) during her four years, participating in an NCAA Regional each season while claiming three Sun Belt Tournament titles.
“Well, I think the reason we had so much success is that we all worked really hard and we had a common goal, ” said Beard-Collura. “We held each other accountable. The leadership we had on those teams was just incredible. We all fought for each other and we had each other’s backs. There wasn’t any drama, it was just about going out there and playing the game. When you do that and you work hard, you’re going to get the results and we did. It was fun to go out there and play with your best friends and kick butt while you’re doing it.” 
Some of Beard-Collura’s fondest memories of her time at South were the three Sun Belt titles and the program hosting a regional. “I don’t even know where to start. Well, the first I’d say is winning our first conference championship my freshman year. That set the bar and from then on out, that was the goal to be better than the team before. I think we achieved that and we did that. And then the next year, we hosted our own regional. The atmosphere that was created by our fans for the regional was crazy. I still get chills just thinking about it. I think from then on, we had created a fan base within Mobile. We had people that lived in the community that would come out and fight and cheer for us. I would say those were some of the coolest memories.”
The foundation that those teams and Beard-Collura set during that run and where the program is at now seems like a lifetime ago.
 “Well, that’s crazy when I think back,” said Beard-Collura. “When I committed to South, there was no office for Coach [Becky] Clark. She actually was working out of the Jag Gym. Once I got there, they got the locker rooms but we didn’t have the facility. But, every year it kept getting bigger. We got the stadium, the Jumbotron, and just kept getting all this new stuff for all of our hard work. I think it’s been awesome to just watch the whole university grow and things around the university that weren’t there when I was here. I go around campus now and it’s just amazing. It’s very cool for the athletes and I just hope they enjoy it as much as we did.”
It was important to the Fairhope, Ala. native to play near her hometown. “Growing up here in Fairhope and being able to play in Mobile meant the world to me. South is an awesome school to go to that I had the honor to attend. And then, having my family around, I had my own cheer squad at every game. My family traveled, they didn’t miss a home game for sure and they didn’t miss many away games either. I just had awesome support. Girls would come over from the high school and watch me and I just thought it was really cool playing in my own hometown.” 
Now married and a mother of a little girl, life is a little different for the South Alabama Hall of Fame inductee. “So, I’ve been at Precision IBC and this is my sixth year with them in sales. Pre-COVID, I was traveling a lot. In between traveling a lot and being gone, I helped out with the Fairhope High School softball team when I could and that was awesome. This past year, I had a little girl and that’s been fun. It’s obviously been a huge change, but it’s very cool and maybe one day she’ll want to play softball. Maybe not, but we are already putting her in her Jag gear. The transition of becoming a mom has been really fun.”
Now the former Jag standout has one more accolade to add to the long list she earned during her career at South, a member of the South Alabama Hall of Fame.

Print Friendly Version
College Sports, Softball, Sports, University of South Alabama Tags: