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Reunited at North Texas, Rebar, Clark, McNutt provide new pieces for softball

Reunited at North Texas, Rebar, Clark, McNutt provide new pieces for softball

February 22
21:49 2018

In Division I softball, getting two players to transfer from the same previous school is rare, but adding a coach as well from the same program as those two players is almost unheard of.

This is what head coach Tracey Kee has on her team this season as assistant coach Gay McNutt and sophomore outfielders Katie Clark and Hanna Rebar all come into this season for North Texas as former members of the Stephen F. Austin University softball program.

McNutt’s relationship with the two girls goes back to their high school days as she initially recruited both girls to the Lumberjacks when they were only sophomores.

“I like to think I got the best of it,” Kee said. “It’s one thing to transfer and go somewhere new, but it’s another to transfer somewhere and be with someone you know and actually have the coach that recruited you as an assistant.”

McNutt has over 30 years of coaching experience, including the nine seasons she spent as the head coach for SFA. McNutt left the Lumberjack staff in 2016 and took a year off of coaching. While actually living in Denton during that year, she did not lose her love for the game and attended a majority of North Texas’ home games last season.

“She watched all of our games last spring, and I just know she still had a passion for it,” Kee said. “We had a volunteer position open and offered it to her. Anytime you can get somebody with that type of fire, energy and success and add it into your program, it becomes a real positive for everyone.”

In regard to Rebar and Clark, the two girls are more than just teammates who played at the same college together.

Dating back to high school, Rebar and Clark formed a close friendship throughout the recruiting process and always kept in touch.

“We met our sophomore year [of high school] through multiple softball camps,” Rebar said. “We ended up playing select ball together our senior year and just knew we were going to be roommates together at SFA.”

Rebar transferred into the North Texas program after just one semester into her freshman year at SFA. Despite their close friendship, Clark knew that Rebar had her own personal reasons for transferring.

“Honestly, she was one of the only ones that saw my point of view and supported me,” Rebar said. “She was really sad that I was leaving, but she saw what I saw and understood my reason for leaving.”

Clark spent an additional two semesters at SFA and started 21 games for the Lady Lumberjacks before arriving to North Texas in January. Transferring was not easy for her, but having some close people waiting for her in Denton helped.

“Hanna and I stayed in contact ever since she left SFA and it made me feel better that I already knew someone here,” Clark said. “Personally, I don’t like change, so going into something when you have no idea what it’s going to be like, she really helped me out with that.”

Kee admits it is no secret that the trio are comfortable to all be reunited at North Texas. They are always at practice joking around with each other, and it is more than obvious there is a special bond there.

“Coach McNutt isn’t someone who is going to favor anybody,” Clark said. “But we’re definitely closer to her. Even before I came here, we talked all the time. We’re just really close because thats the kind of atmosphere she formed at SFA, and she still has it here.”

On the field, both Rebar and Clark are two players who Kee sees as being one of the more vital pieces of the team’s puzzle.

In 2017, Rebar made her way onto the field quickly. She appeared in 51 games for the Mean Green and batted .213 with five home runs and 20 RBI’s. So far in 2018, Rebar has been one of only three players to play and start in all seven games this season.

“She has really matured since last spring,” Kee said. “I don’t think she really put up the numbers she wanted to have, but thus far she’s doing some good things offensively and has a strong arm in the outfield.”

As for Clark, she made her first appearance in a Mean Green uniform this past weekend in the Elon tournament after missing the opening weekend of the season with an ankle injury.

Clark’s hitting ability and speed, both on the base paths and in the outfield, earned her a chance to hit from the leadoff spot in three of the four games in Elon. It took her no time to find her stride to this point as she has hit .364 with two RBI’s while scoring three runs and using that speed to go 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts.

“Katie is just an overall great athlete,” Kee said. “She has really done well in the lead off spot. She stepped up and did some great things for us this past weekend.”

Now the trio, along with the team, head into their third weekend of the season and Kee knows how lucky she was to add these three valuable pieces to her roster and coaching staff.

“We were fortunate to get them both as mid-year transfers when we needed help on the roster,” Kee said. “They’ll be big assets for us in the future.”

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Luis Diosdado

Luis Diosdado

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