Laurie Derrico celebrates her next chapter with Shockers on senior day

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -- Laurie Anne Derrico has left quite the legacy at Wichita State. One of the best hitters in program history, Derrico is the co-leader with 39 home runs, and ranks second in RBIs (141).

But this will only be only her final regular season game as a player. "LA," as they call her, is ready to turn the page to a new chapter as a graduate assistant of player operations.

"You know, I wasn't actually expecting it at all when [Coach Bredbenner] offered it to me," she said. "I was really surprised. When she offered it to me, it was no question to me. Like I've loved my time here, and I love Wichita and I love everybody in this program and I'm really excited to stay."

Coach Kristi Bredbenner is excited to have Derrico's veteran presence in the clubhouse.

"It's her leadership and how if she's struggling offensively, she's going to pick it up defensively because you know that she wants it," she said. "She's worked harder than anybody's worked in our program."

Derrico never considered herself a leader entering her stint at Wichita State. Following her freshman year, Bredbenner sat her down and explained the importance of her role.

"[Coach] told me that I was a leader by example and I always try to do the right thing, do what needs to be done, and so I took that as 'I can step up and be a leader,' and the next three years, do it more vocally and things like that," she said.

This is becoming a trend for Bredbenner. Derrico is the second star infielder to stay in the program after graduation. McKenzie Wright has been serving as a graduate assistant on staff and the first base coach throughout the 2019 season.

Derrico joins Asea Webber, Mauriana Jamele, and Bethany Canada as the graduating 2019 senior class.