Mike Roberts has become quite the world traveler.
The Auckland, New Zealand native has been all over the place because of softball since 1986.
Roberts just wrapped up his third season as the pitching and catching coach of the University of Washington’s softball team.
The team finished their season as one of the eight most prestigious college softball programs, qualifying for the NCAA College World Series and losing in the National semifinals.
This is the second time in four years that Roberts has led a team to the CWS, as he did so in the same position with the University of Oregon in 2014.
“When you get 10,000 people in the stands for every game and you get on TV,” said Roberts. “There isn’t an experience that really comes close to that.”
Initially, Roberts never even planned on becoming a coach.
Roberts was a great pitcher in his own right before he was coaching others, pitching in 13 International Softball Congress world tournaments. In fact, Roberts spent multiple years playing for the Circle Tap Dukes under head coach John Miller.
During his time in Denmark, Roberts’ daughter, Lauren, was quickly growing up and approaching high school. By the time she made the varsity team, Mike noticed that the varsity position was open.
“I had a younger daughter that went to Denmark High School. As she got older and started playing softball, I went down to the village park and coached her,” said Roberts. “That turned into coaching at Denmark High School.”
Mike Roberts was the head coach at Denmark for three seasons, compiling a solid record of 51-19. Also during that time, Roberts founded two travelling softball clinics that he coached, In The Zone and Junior Phoenix Program, in affiliation with UW-Green Bay.
The Junior Phoenix Program, over time, allowed Roberts to get his foot in at the collegiate level.
He was hired on in 2011 as an assistant coach. He stayed there through the 2013 season.
That’s when things took a dramatic turn.
Roberts clearly had a strong background in softball, and bigger schools took notice in that. In the summer of 2013, Roberts made a jump from the Horizon League to the Pac-12, accepting the pitching and catching coach job at the University of Oregon. He stayed there for one season, qualifying for the CWS.
Roberts went from being a Duck to a Husky, staying in the Pac-12 and joining the University of Washington in July of 2015.
When talking about the job he’s been in for three years, Roberts did not fail to forget where he came from.
“It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” said Roberts. “Radue Homes wouldn’t like to hear that.
“Beautiful city and I enjoy what I do. They pay me to do what I love.”
After making the ultimate college tournament for the second time in his career, there’s only one more thing Roberts would like to do before he steps away from the game.
“I am looking to be a head coach at the college level at some point,” said Roberts, while not forgetting where he came from. “I do look back that I had such a great experience in Denmark, Wisconsin. It kind of molded my coaching career.”