Earlier this school year, ASOR had a chance to catch up with star Michigan Softball transfer Lou Allan. The 2021 first team All-Big Ten slugger transferred to Liberty during the offseason. She is a graduate transfer who had a breakthrough season during her senior season at Michigan where she batted .383 with nine doubles, 11 home runs, and a team-leading 45 RBIs. Here is the transcript from the exclusive interview with Allan:
ASOR: How has your transition been going from one school to the next? Has it been an easy adjustment?
Lou Allan: I am living off campus with my cat and it has been a very smooth transition. The most difficult part was the trip over here because my car died in West Virginia. I got a new car and upgraded, but it was stressful.
ASOR: I am glad you made it and got a new vehicle. Out of curiosity, how does it work for a graduate transfer with school? Do you have to be in a degree program or simply take courses?
LA: I am actually finishing up some classes for undergraduate classes. I am taking classes this fall at Liberty that will transfer back to Michigan and then I am starting a graduate degree in Criminal Justice at Liberty this spring. I only have one year of eligibility, but plan to finish my master’s degree at Liberty even after my playing career is done.
ASOR: What is the difference academically between Michigan and Liberty for you? Have you noticed a difference?
LA: Michigan uses a flipped classroom with very little lecture or teaching time in the classes. The student reads articles and then it is discussed in class or you just show up for a test. At Liberty there are actual lectures and teaching going in the live class. I like this format at Liberty more.
ASOR: Take us back to growing up in California. What led to your decision to attend Michigan instead of the California schools or even PAC12 schools? What drew you to Michigan?
LA: Okay, first I don’t like California. I grew up in a part of California that was very country and small town. I did not want to move to L.A or Santa Barbara at the time. My grandma (played with coach Dot) came with me on all my recruiting trips including Michigan. At 14 years old I was offered by Michigan, took a trip out there and felt at home. At 14 I was making a huge decision and ended up at Michigan. I don’t regret my decision, but like any college there are good things and there are bad things. I enjoyed my time there, but after four years I felt like it was time to move on and I needed a change.
ASOR: What led to the decision to transfer?
LA: I needed a change. Part of that was the weather because it is really gray and cold a lot of the year. I definitely do not intend to live there. After my last game I was planning to be done with softball. I was originally planning to move to Nashville and start my singing career. I had a singing coach and producer lined up. I went down there and for two weeks and was starting to get my feet in the door to start singing, but after being down there I realized I was not ready yet.
I actually called coach Dot and told her that I was not ready to be done with softball, she had been a support for me during my entire career, I’ve known coach Dot my entire life. Coach Dot told me, ‘Look if you want to keep playing you should but I can’t talk to to you about transfer stuff unless you are in the portal. If you decide to enter the portal then we can talk more about that.’ Coach Dot told me to talk it over with my family and then decide what you want to do. I talked to my family and said I know that schools don’t have money for a transfer, Coach Dot doesn’t have any more money but Liberty is the one place I want to go to school if I play. They are good, top 25 team and I want to play for LU. My grandpa told me I should get into the grad program at Liberty, and call Coach Dot to tell her you are going to Liberty. I want to go into the FBI and it would be a great opportunity for school. And I love it.
ASOR: Had you ever been on campus prior to transferring?
LA: I knew a lot about it because my grandma and I would have lunch with Coach Dot whenever she came out to California. She would show us what it looked like before the new facilities and what it looks like now. I knew a lot about it already. I had not been out there. All I knew about Lynchburg was that it was in the south, which I love the south, they have sweet tea! I really felt like it was a place I would be the most happy. I knew it would be a place where coaches cared about our well being.
ASOR: Was there a part of campus that really stuck out to you once you saw the campus for the first time?
LA: I wasn’t expecting it to be as big as it was. A lot of people told me it was really small and like a community college. When I first got there I was surprised how big it was and how close the athletic buildings were. It was very nice. I love it.
ASOR: Take me back to Michigan, was there a player that you looked up to or followed who influenced your game?
LA: My grandma! I never thought it would be that way, but she is the biggest influence on my game. I never wanted to wear her number growing up but I did not want to copy her and be my own player. She was a great first baseman on the Olympic team, but I wanted to be my own player. I ended up being 14 because it was the number of the pitcher from my favorite movie for the “Love of The Game.” Michigan only allowed us to choose numbers from those who wore them on previous teams. At Liberty I got to pick my old number of 99.
ASOR: I don’t want to put you on the spot, but with the transfers coming in do you feel like the expectations are the same as Michigan?
LA: I don’t feel they are different, we are a top 25 team and the coaches are expecting us to be a top 25 team. We are going to work hard for it. I think the difference between here and Michigan is that we are more driven and focused on coming to practice and working out. At Michigan the focus was not there and a lot of times it was going through the motions. But here the mindset is different. I think we have a really, really good team. I’m trying to bring in some of the experience I have of being at a Power 5 school, and just being ready for us being in the spot light more this year. I like the pressure. I had my dream of one out, runners on second and third, tied with Northwestern and I ended up hitting a walk off home run. I want to be in the pressure situations.
ASOR: Would you say that home run was a highlight for you at Michigan?
LA: Yes, to have an experience like that at a Power 5. I will never forget that. You don’t hit many walk off homers at a Power 5 school.
*all photos courtesy Liberty Athletics