By Rubin E. Grant
Mary Katherine “MK” Tedder’s parents were uppermost in her mind as she thought about what school she would attend to finish her college softball career.
Tedder was the 2017 OTM Softball Player of the Year as a senior at Spain Park High School and was a prep All-American. She played the past four seasons at Texas before graduating in May with a degree in sports management and a minor in sports media.
She had decided to pursue an MBA and had another year of playing eligibility remaining, so she took her parents, Scott and LaDonna Tedder, into consideration when she signed with Samford last week as a graduate transfer.
“I was planning on coming somewhere close to home, somewhere my parents would not have to fly out of and miss work,” Tedder said. “I had a couple of other offers, but I have a lot of friends here and I thought Samford would be the right fit and it was the right timing.”
Tedder’s decision comes just after Samford hired a new softball coach, Kimball Cassady. Cassady spent the past 11 seasons as the head coach at Birmingham-Southern College. Tedder’s high school coach at Spain Park, C.J. Urse Hawkins, also was a candidate for the job.
“I just met her (Cassaday) for the first time last week,” Tedder said. “I’ve known about her. She and C.J. are good friends. I’ve known a couple of players who played for her at Birmingham-Southern. She’s very cool. I’m excited to play for her and learn from her.”
Tedder had a solid, if unspectacular, career at Texas. As a freshman in 2018, she started all 59 games at third base, but during her senior season this year, she played in only 38 games, starting three.
“I had a different role,” she said. “Whenever I got the chance, I tried to do my best.”
Despite her limited playing time this season, Tedder enjoyed her career with the Longhorns.
“I would say it’s indescribable,” she said. “I had the time of my life, the best four years of my life. Softball was so much fun, and I loved being in the city of Austin. It was fun.”
An excellent student, Tedder was named to the 2021 Academic All-Big 12 softball first team. It was the third time she had been chosen.
She eventually would like to work in the office of a college athletic conference.
“My goal is to work in the corporate office at the SEC,” Tedder said. “They have a lot of internships and I hope I can land one. I interned at Hoover High School in the athletic office. It was great.”
Tedder also wants to complete her college playing career at Samford with a successful 2022 season.
“I have a couple of really good friends who were on the team, Timberlyn Shurbutt, O’Neil Roberson and Mehki Mayfield,” Tedder said. “Abigail Dorsett and I grew up playing together for the Birmingham Thunderbolts and we’re good friends.
“The talent is there to have a good season next year. I am excited to get to work, win a conference championship and make the regionals.”