A transfer portal story to feel good about
Sarah Lehman's father explains why she is transferring from Iowa to DePaul for softball
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Here is a transfer portal story to feel good about.
Sarah Lehman’s decision to transfer from Iowa to DePaul for softball is a feel-good story because there are no accusations of tampering or back-stabbing or dishonesty or disloyalty, as is the case it seems with so many transfer stories these days.
Sarah Lehman is leaving a good situation as a pitcher for Iowa to transfer to DePaul for reasons that involve a lot more than just softball.
The former Iowa City Regina standout has two seasons of eligibility remaining, and she almost certainly would’ve been a key factor for Iowa, as she was this past season when she started 13 games and had 10 complete games, including an eight-inning shutout against Penn State.
But there was one problem as Lehman’s father, Chris Lehman, explained Saturday morning on KCJJ radio.
Sarah Lehman has graduated from Iowa with a business degree in Leadership Enterprise and she now has her sights set on graduate school. But Iowa doesn’t offer the specific courses she needs to achieve her academic goals, while DePaul does offer those courses, along with a chance to pitch for a pretty good softball team.
Chris Lehman said his daughter met with the Iowa coaches with about two weeks left in the regular season to discuss her future, and there were no hard feelings, nor did the Iowa coaches try to block the transfer or accuse her of being disloyal.
In fact, Renee Gillispie and her staff, according to Chris Lehman, wished Sarah well and offered to help with her transfer in any way they could.
“They were very supportive and understanding,” Chris Lehman said of the Iowa coaches. “We really appreciate that. It made it a lot easier.”
To see a transfer portal story with no finger pointing, double-talk and deception is just refreshing.
And while some might try to minimize Lehman’s story since it doesn’t involve basketball or football, softball coaches also want to win, and are under pressure to win.
The transfer portal has impacted every sport, and for Iowa to lose Sarah Lehman is significant from a softball standpoint.
Sarah Lehman has big goals that she wants to achieve in academics, and no matter how important winning is to Renee Gillispie, some things are just more important.
Iowa’s top three pitchers this past season were all seniors, including ace Allison Doocy.
So to lose Sarah Lehman is a significant blow from a competitive standpoint. But again, some things are just more important than winning at the collegiate level, and Renee Gillispie seems to understand that.
Sarah Lehman is leaving an Iowa softball program that is on the rise under Gillispie to join a DePaul softball program that is also having success.
Iowa finished 26-18 this season, and fourth in the Big Ten while DePaul finished 25-11 and was the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament.
This is the second time that Sarah Lehman has transferred in college.
She joined the Iowa softball team in 2019 after having played volleyball for Coe College as a freshman in 2018.
Sarah Lehman saw action in 18 games as a sophomore at Iowa in 2019, with 11 starts.
Chris Lehman talked Saturday about how his daughter’s life is about to change, on and off the softball field.
Sarah Lehman is moving from the comfort and security of the college town in which she was raised to the big city of Chicago. She’ll now ride a train to campus, unless she can talk her father into letting her have a car.
Sarah Lehman’s decision to transfer is based on academics more than softball, according to her father, and the NCAA transfer portal was very helpful during the process.
The portal made it easy for Sarah Lehman to get her name out, and for schools to contact her.
The Iowa softball coaches also made it easier for Sarah Lehman to transfer by putting her academic pursuits above everything else.
And that says a lot about them.