Bobcat born and raised
Y ou’d be hard-pressed to find an incoming freshman more familiar with the Georgia College & State University campus than Riley Barsby.
As the daughter of Steve Barsby, a 23-year GCSU veteran assistant athletic director and head men’s and women’s tennis coach, Riley has spent her life connected to the university.
Riley has countless experiences and memories attached to GCSU, like joining teams on road trips, participating in summer camps or hanging out with her dad at sporting events. All while she attended Georgia Military College Prep School in Milledgeville.
Despite logging all those hours on campus, Riley originally had no plans of attending Georgia College. The change came when Riley was recruited as a Bobcat student-athlete, but she won’t be playing tennis. Instead, the Bobcat lifer will join the GCSU softball team as a versatile utility infielder.
Riley was like many high school students, wanting to blaze her own path and get out of their hometown for college. But a recruitment visit with the softball coaching staff in fall 2022 changed all of that.
“They reached out to me and convinced me to come on a tour,” she said. “Even though I’m here all the time with my dad, and I’ve been on campus all my life, the tour gave me another perspective of it all, allowing me to see more detail of the school, and I loved it. Assistant Coach Kenneth Bellamy and Head Coach Jamie Grodecki were great in the recruiting process, making it about just me the softball player and student, not about my family.”
It didn’t take long for her father to be convinced GCSU was the right choice.
“She came on the campus visit, met the players and did the tour,” he said. “We went to dinner as a family that night, and I said, ‘what do you got?’” “She replied, ‘it’s perfect’. That response blew me away.”
“I want her to feel like she’s part of a community and team that’s striving to do well in all aspects,” Steve said. “Because I have in-depth knowledge of the program, I think she’s going to have that. I want her to be a part of the program as I see it—a great program, with a competitive environment. As soon as she told me she wanted to come to GCSU, I knew that here I won’t have any worries. I know she’s going to have a great experience.”
Coach Grodecki intentionally made the recruiting process no different than it is for any other incoming student-athlete.
“We treat all recruits the same, no special treatment or stops along the way,” Grodecki said, “We like to show full transparency of what it means to be a part of the program. We look for a kid who is versatile, who can play multiple positions, can run, can throw and can hit. Riley is a kid who can play the game and be versatile and a team player. She’s a good student and good kid.”
Riley will major in exercise science with eventual plans of being a chiropractor. She also owes that interest to her prior GCSU experience.
“One of my dad’s former players [Tyler Franks, ‘13] was a chiropractor and I got to shadow him. I just thought it was awesome,” Riley said. “I love going to the chiropractor myself, and I enjoyed the fast pace he had for his day. I thought ‘I could see myself doing that one day.’”
“At the start, I was nervous about staying in my hometown, because I always wanted to go somewhere out of state to experience something new,” she said. “But after my tour and everything here I feel like Georgia College is really the place for me.”