Podcast Preview: Viral softball star Emma Humplik buys into USF’s winning mentality

After posting a video that went viral on Twitter, USF softball commit Emma Humplik received considerable attention from major news outlets, pro athletes and, of course, schools vying for her signature. She committed to USF earlier this month for one main reason — the championship mentality of coach Ken Eriksen and the Bulls. PHOTO COURTESY OF EMMA HUMPLIK

Orangefield High School catcher and outfielder Emma Humplik didn’t expect to be seen by tens of millions of people worldwide. She was just doing what any hopeful high school softball player would — upload videos of batting practice and hope to get noticed by some programs.

But on July 8, one of Humplik’s many videos of her consecutively crushing softballs over a fence got more attention than she expected. 

Since she posted the video, 15.6 million people have seen it, and it’s been retweeted by the likes of ESPN, MLB and top athletes from around the world.

Of course, it’s exciting to see a player get international recognition for her skill. But Bulls fans, in particular, have a lot to get excited about, as Humplik, from Orange, Texas, about 110 miles from Houston, committed to USF softball earlier this month.

“Normally I’ll post [a video] every week after my hitting lesson, well, I wasn’t going to post it, but my mom was like, ‘Post the video,’ and I was like, ‘No, mom, I just posted one last week, there’s no reason to post another one,’” Humplik said via Zoom. “So she was like, ‘No, post it or you’re grounded,’ and I was like, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ So I posted it, didn’t even put a caption.

“I had no idea it was gonna go viral.”

The decision to become a Bull boiled down to coaching — USF coach Ken Eriksen reminded her of Texas Bombers 18U Gold coach John Carpenter.

“I was really impressed because I wanted my college coach to be just like my select coach, coach Carp [Carpenter], and they are very similar,” Humplik said. “That’s the main reason why I wanted to go there. Coach Erickson is very, very nice. The whole coaching staff and the girls are very welcoming.”

Prior to joining USF, Humplik had committed to Texas A&M but had to decommit due to the pandemic. Regardless, she still had multiple high-caliber offers on the table and was in touch with at least 15 programs, especially after her video went viral.

But Eriksen and USF made her feel more welcome than any other school could, she said.

“I’ve never felt so like, wanted, like he [Eriksen] was so excited,” Humplik said. “That’s what makes me feel good is that a coach actually wants me and is excited for me to come.”

Humplik has been welcomed to USF with open arms, but the quality of the softball program is another factor that drew her in. In the past four years, the Bulls have won three AAC titles and made it to the NCAA tournament three times.

“It’s just going to be really cool to play with girls who want the same thing as you,” she said. 

“A championship and a big title.”

For the full conversation with Emma Humplik, listen to The Oracle Sports Podcast with Nolan Brown and Hannah Halili, which premieres Thursday night on your podcast platform of choice.