The strange things that almost happen are not as strange as those that do.

Take Amy"/> 20070118 Where Are They Now: Amy Chellevold Hillenbrand - The University of Arizona Official Athletic Site
 
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20070118 Where Are They Now: Amy Chellevold Hillenbrand
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/18/2007
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<p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">The strange things that almost happen are not as strange as those that do.</font></p><font size="2"><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif">Take Amy Chellevold Hillenbrand &ndash; and what softball coach in the world wouldn&rsquo;t?</font> </font></font /><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Arizona&rsquo;s first four-time all-Pacific-10 Conference selection, Amy Chellevold played in four NCAA championship games, helped win two of them, and graduated in 1995 with 27 career records as a Wildcat, the nation&rsquo;s all-time leader in hits (371) and runs (252).</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">She was a slap-hitter with a satin touch, she ran like the wind and left UA with the school&rsquo;s best career batting average ever, .415.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Not bad for a volleyball player.</font></p><font size="2"><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif">Amy graduated from Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High School in 1990 and attended UC-Santa Barbara for a year on a volleyball scholarship. Her sister, Julie Chellevold Berman, went to Ohio State on a volleyball scholarship &ndash; and played on a high school club team coached by none other than Dave Rubio, now the UA volleyball coach.</font> </font></font /><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">So, how in the world did a young lady playing a different sport at a different school wind up as one of Mike Candrea&rsquo;s top stars in softball?</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">&quot;It was fate,&quot; said Amy, married now 5 &frac12; years to Tucson businessman Mike Hillenbrand, and mother of</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">two: daughter, Lauren, 4 and son, Brock, 20 months.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">And how&rsquo;s this for fate? Mike is the son of the late Bill Hillenbrand, for whom the Arizona softball complex is named.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">&quot;When I was in high school,&quot; Amy said, &quot;I had a good friend a year older, Jamie Heggen. She played softball at UA three years (1991-93). We kept in touch. I was not all that happy at Santa Barbara and one thing led to another.&quot;</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">One of the strangest twists happened when Amy played in a high school softball tournament.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Arizona assistant coach Larry Ray was there to watch. </font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">During a break in the action, sitting at a restaurant munching on a sandwich, Ray asked a stranger if he knew who that No. 13 was for Thousand Oaks High. </font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Yeah, the other guy said, &quot;I know her well. She&rsquo;s my daughter.&quot;</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Later, as a college freshman, when Amy decided to switch sports, she also decided to switch schools -- to UA&rsquo;s everlasting grattitude.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">&quot;She was a model student-athlete,&quot; Candrea said. &quot;Amy did everything perfectly on the field, and her effort as a player was matched by her community involvement.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">&quot;She may have been a better volleyball player at one time, but she developed her skills in softball so quickly it was amazing,&quot;</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Chellevold-Hillenbrand graduated from UA in 1995 with a degree in exercise and sport science.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">&quot;After graduation, I played on teams here and there, moved to San Francisco where I had a job, then eventually came back and coached with Mike for five years. During her time as a Wildcat assistant, Amy made the U.S. National Team.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">An injury (torn ACL) in 1998 dashed her 2000 Olympic dreams. But that year, 2000, she met future husband Mike Hillenbrand, a graduate of Miami of Ohio.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Amy serves with Candrea on the U.S. National Softball Team Selection Committee, and is also an athlete-advisor to the U.S. Olympic Committee for softball.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Her most memorable experience at UA is a difficult choice. &quot;There were just a lot of great things,&quot; she said. &quot;But winning the championship and coming back to Tucson was among them. In those days, you&rsquo;d get off the plane and there&rsquo;d be an airport full of fans cheering you.&quot;</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">&quot;To be honest,&quot; she said, &quot;I&rsquo;d have to say one of my most memorable experiences was the devotion of the fans of UA softball. They are incredible. I still have friends who were fans back when I played.</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">&quot;I go to games now and everybody wants to hold my kids and talk softball. It&rsquo;s a great atmosphere.&quot;</font></p><p><font face="arial,helvetica,sans-serif" size="2">Among those who influenced Amy the most at UA were Candrea (&quot;he was like your father when your father was far away&quot;), Associate Athletic Director Kathleen &quot;Rocky&quot; LaRose and Dr. Kathryn Russell of the exercise sport sciences dept.</font></p>
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