Meet Haley Janzer, the Future of Rams’ Softball


Photo by: Patrick Henslee

Rams’ new head softball coach Haley Janzer addresses a blowout win with her team on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.

Story By: Patrick Henslee, Sports Editor

Fresno City College has had a wealth of talented and experienced coaches stand along the sidelines and lead from the dugout over the years, and newly instated head softball coach Haley Janzer looks to be the next in a long line of impressive leaders.

If the last name ‘Janzer’ sounds familiar, it’s most likely because you can find it all over Fresno State softball’s record books. Janzer shone for the Bulldogs from 2006-09, finishing sixth in all time batting average, fifth in hits, fourth in runs, eighth in triples and ninth in stolen bases. 

“I think my success has been brought on with who I surround myself with and learning from those people” said Janzer. “I am a big believer in lifelong learning. No matter what level you get to, or who you coach with, or who you talk to, you learn from anybody.”

Janzer always stood out as a player on the field, but the second half of her career comes from the dugout. Her career as a coach is just as impressive when you realize that the 32-year-old is just getting started.

Right after her playing career ended, Janzer went back to her high school alma mater, Clovis West High School, to serve as an assistant coach. There, she went through the initial trials of transitioning from successful player to novice coach.

“It’s one thing to know something. It’s another thing to be able to teach it to somebody else, have them grasp it and do it without you having to tell them,” said Janzer.

“I think that was a big learning process for me. The relationships that I was developing with [the players] were there, but I still wasn’t able to get them dialed in how I wanted to,” she said. 

Janzer went on to serve as an assistant coach at FCC from 2013-15, a period that saw her stand in as the interim co-head coach in 2014. She says the stories and characters the junior college experience offered is what drew her in the most.

“There are so many stories behind how people get here,” she said. “Being able to understand their backstory helps develop them on the field, and that helps them develop off the field. I really learned that and fell in love with that here at City.”

Ready to take on a full position as head coach, Janzer moved to Paso Robles High School to coach the varsity softball team. There, she was able to handpick her coaches, an opportunity that allowed her to also fall in love with working with others to successfully lead a program.

At the end of the year, Janzer got offered an assistant coach position from Fresno State’s new head softball coach Linda Garza. Janzer took the offer, excited to learn alongside someone in a new position.

“At Fresno State, we had ‘A’ players that I needed to fine tune. When you start competing with all these great programs, you have to figure out how to take an ‘A’ player and make her an ‘A+’ player,” she said. “That experience taught me about breaking things down to the most minute details, and how big of a deal mental approach is.”

In Janzer’s eyes, an athlete’s mental approach is everything. In 2012, she followed up her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a master’s degree in sports psychology from Fresno State, an education that she says has proven to be more than helpful as a coach.

“There’s a lot of transferable knowledge in sports that I think sports psychology has made me aware of. Like having to communicate it in a relatable way, which gets people to buy in more. Getting people to buy in is huge.”

Janzer is a teacher on the field, in the classroom and at home. She’s the mother of two daughters, 3-year-old Sadie and 1-year-old Quinn.

Taking the head coaching job at FCC wasn’t an easy decision for her. She says it was hard to come to terms with being away from her children and leaving them in someone else’s hands for multiple hours a day. 

“If someone gave me a compliment about being a good mom, that’s the biggest compliment I could get,” said Janzer. “Motherhood is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It’s the most rewarding and the most deep thing, but definitely the hardest.”

Being a mother presented a new challenge to Janzer. At home, she had to watch what she said or else she’d hear one of her daughters use some unsavory terms and phrases. Careful communication is important to her.

She and her husband, Justin, had to be conscious of one another’s opinions when it came to taking care of their girls. She had to put herself in his shoes every now and then. Being understanding is important to her.

Janzer asked Justin to bring their daughters to the Rams’ practices so they could make time to be together when it seemed like there was no time at all. Putting in time and effort is important to her.

She finds parallels in her passions: her family and softball. She does everything with the intention to set the standard and be a successful role model that the young women in her life can look up to. 

“All those things tie together for me,” said Janzer. “Being a mom and being a teacher, while setting the example for both of those. That’s what I strive to be.”