Cassie Walsh was a four-year (2007-10) member of the Emory softball program, playing in a total of 165 games and drawing starting nods in 162. She garnered first-team acclaim on conference and region teams on three occasions and was also tabbed as the University Athletic Association Rookie of the Year. She closed out her career third on the school's all-time chart with a .415 batting average and her 228 hits stood first. In addition, she capped her career as the program's all-time leader with 67 stolen bases. Emory softball won 119 games during her career, made three NCAA Tournament appearances and won one UAA title.
Q: What is your occupation and where do you reside?
CW: I'm an attorney with the law firm Adams and Reese, LLP, which is a full service business law firm with seventeen offices spanning the Southeast and Washington D.C. I'm currently based in Houston, Texas, and am a self-described "death and deals" lawyer who provides operational advice to companies regarding issues like "who gets that money sitting in that dead person's bank account" and "who gets to be buried in that burial plot," and I also counsel clients through deals of all shapes and sizes spanning various industries.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your job?
CW: I always tell people I became a lawyer because I was always good at three things: (1) writing, (2) arguing, and (3) being a b****. Ironically, after living in that space for the first four years of my practice, focusing mostly on real estate and commercial litigation, I transitioned into a full-time transactional practice in 2018, and I can honestly say that I love every minute of what I do. I love to help people, and I love helping my clients through exciting business opportunities and watching their wheels turn as they change the world.
Q: Can you provide an update on some of your experiences post-Emory to where you are now?
CW: After I graduated in 2010, I moved back to Palm City, Florida, for ten months and worked as a paralegal while studying for and taking the LSAT. After that, I moved to Houston, Texas (and got to Texas as soon as I could, as they say), where I worked as a paralegal and attended law school at South Texas College of Law. From there, I never looked back and am now in my sixth (almost seventh) year of practice and loving every minute of it.
Q: What were the primary factors in you choosing Emory as your college?
CW: Emory was God's plan for me. It was the only school I ever applied to, and I knew it and felt it since the day I received a letter about Emory Softball from Coach Siqueiros and Coach (Gary) Anderson. At the time, I lived in Palm City, Florida, which is about two hours south of Orlando, where Emory was playing in its conference tournament. I convinced my dad to drive me up and watch Emory play for a day, and from there I was hooked. I fell in love. From the stands I could feel the energy that Coach Siqueiros fostered within the program, and I just knew in that moment that Emory was the only place for me.
I was a double major in Political Science and Religion - I specialized in the two topics you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table, no wonder I became an attorney.
Q: What are some reflections upon your time at Emory, both as a member of the softball team and as a student?
CW: Emory made me who I am today. If I had it my way, I would have only played softball every minute of every day, but luckily Emory also provided me with an education. I still think about the successes my teammates and fellow alumnae have had in so many areas, and I am in awe constantly thinking about the caliber of women that I spent my time with every day and who I get to call my Emory Softball sisters. I like to pretend to myself that I'm successful, but when I think about the amazing things my teammates do and have done every day, saving lives and masters of their respective industries, I'm just in awe and am humbled that I get to call them my friends and teammates
Q: You were an intense competitor -- how did you view your role on the team and how would you prepare yourself for contests?
CW: It's been ten years since I stepped foot on a competitive softball field as an athlete, and I miss it every single day. I've grown immensely since that time, and looking back, I often realize how immature I was then - I wanted to win and I wanted to be the best, but that often did not present itself in the most positive manner. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be an asset to the team, and I still cringe thinking about how emotional I would let myself get on the field at times. But at the same time, I also smile from ear-to-ear thinking about how genuinely excited I would get when my teammates would have successes around me. I lived for that team and for my teammates - I would show up to the field hours early or stay hours late just to feed the pitching machine or shag balls and just to spend time with my teammates, and those are some of the most fun times I had in college.
Q: You certainly earned many honors (4x All-UAA, 4x All-region, UAA ROY) and still rank among the program's all-time leaders in numerous categories ... Are there any particular accomplishments that stand out for you or that you are particularly proud of?
CW: Softball is a team sport, and no one person can earn any award on her own. Of all of the years I spent at Emory and all of the successes our team and my teammates enjoyed, the most special moment I remember is our team appearance at the Division III World Series my freshman year. The journey there was absolutely incredible from coming back from a deficit in our regional final game at Salisbury to stepping foot on that field in Salem and just knowing we were one of the best eight teams in the country that year. When I think about how it felt to stand there in the middle of that enormous NCAA logo in center field that year, I still get goosebumps.
Q: What are some other Highlights that you remember while competing at Emory?
CW: When I think back, I just remember the girls I played with and how pumped up I would get to see them kick @$$ on the field. Every now and again I'll stumble across a picture of one of our games or series, and it flashes me right back to that moment and I'll think, "Wow, I bet you Non [Shanon Andersen] just struck someone out in that picture," or "Oh man, that was Fitzy's [Caitlin Fitzgerald] or Liz's [Elizabeth White] or Bandy's [Kimberly Bandy] or Moler's [Alyson Moler] amazing base-clearing double that started that rally." It's pretty awesome stuff.
Q: How did you balance the demands of academics and athletics?
CW: If I had it my way, I would have played softball and done nothing else, but that was not an option. There were many all-nighters and work done on the road, and ultimately we all just did what we had to do in order to get what we needed to done. Living that lifestyle has shaped me professionally and my work ethic in the practice of law is much akin to what it was like back then balancing sports and studies.
Q: How you are surviving the pandemic and how has it affected you?
CW: The pandemic hasn't affected my practice in any way, and I've been busier this year than I ever have. During my time at home, though, I've used the time I've gained with no commute to reset and remember the things I love to do - go fishing on my boat, play with my dog, exercise - and I've taken on some fun new hobbies. I built an arcade game in my garage bar and taught myself how to program, which was fun and unique.
Q: Any interests/hobbies or things you do to relax when away from work?
CW: I still coach - I'm going into my sixth year as head coach of the Saint Vincent de Paul Lady Tigers Softball team, which is a private middle school in West University, Houston. I also serve on event staff for Special Olympics | Texas and play a large role in organizing and carrying out the Softball, Volleyball, and Basketball events each year (and I volunteer at other events about once per month). I also love teaching the Pre-K kids in Sunday School at my church and, when there's time, I love to fish on my boat.
Q: Any former teammates that you are in contact with?
CW: Absolutely. I try to keep up with everyone periodically, even if it's just a quick text to check in and say hello. I was in Fitzy's [Caitlin Fitzgerald] wedding a couple years ago, and she was an absolutely gorgeous bride. And I got to see Mar [Marion Holland] while I visited Tampa last year and spent a long evening catching up over a few drinks.
Overall, though, there's probably two people I've kept up with the most: Non [Shanon Andersen] and Bridgey [Bridget Holloway]. I've always joked with Non and sang that Savage Garden song to her, "I knew I loved you before I met youuu," and it's true. She's been my go-to best friend from day one, and I cherish our friendship that has lasted years and many, many thousands of miles in between us. And Bridgey has literally followed me since she was my recruit. We've always had a super close connection, starting when I bribed her to stay in Atlanta by letting her use my car whenever she liked, and continuing through to her following me to Texas to pursue her Master's. I was lucky enough to be with her the night she met her husband and got to make a hilarious (if I do say so myself, but you can ask her) speech about it as one of her bridesmaids at her wedding. And now I'm counting down the days until I get to meet her brand new baby girl, and I can't wait!
Q: Is there anything that you take from being a student-athlete into your profession?
CW: Absolutely everything - teamwork, my work ethic, even the way I interact with my clients and colleagues. I remember during my Junior year I took a sports psychology seminar, and we did a unit on "athletic identity". And most of the other folks in the class got reasonable outcomes that demonstrated that they were well-rounded individuals whose entire identity was not shaped by athletics. (Lucky them!) But I scored literally almost as highly as you possibly could, indicating that I identified as nothing other than an athlete. And when I think about how that has influenced me professionally and how it influenced me while I was on the field, I see no difference. I still want to win at everything I do, and I still want to be the best. But I want all of that so that my team can be successful and so that my clients can have the positive outcome that they desire.
Q: Any advice you would give Emory students/future grads?
CW: Don't ever let a day go by where you don't appreciate it and bust your @$$ because it will be gone before you know it, and it's going to be the best time of your life.
Cassie Walsh is an attorney and lives in Houston, Texas.