Mark Starner has been tabbed to replace Tim Stanton as Glenwood’s softball coach.
Starner takes over for Stanton who resigned after 11 seasons and a record of 264-151, including two Hawkeye 10 Conference titles.
Starner, an assistant on Stanton’s staff the last two seasons, will remain as Glenwood boys head track coach, a position he has held since 2000. The coach brings with him a vast array of experience as coach of the Ram freshman baseball team for 12 seasons as well as one-year coaching stints as coach of the Sidney/Hamburg softball team in 1994 and the Nishna Valley baseball team in 1995.
Starner said he’s enjoyed his time as an assistant and while the opportunity to coach his two daughters – Bailey, a senior, and Myranda, a sophomore – was enticing, it wasn’t the only reason he accepted the Glenwood job.
“I want what’s best for the program and if that meant me being the head coach, then great,” Starner said. “But regardless, I know there’s a lot of pride in this sport in Glenwood and I feel that I can keep the passion and pride going and give it my best to take it to the next level. We have a great core of returning players that I firmly believe we can make that step.”
According to Glenwood Activities Director Jeff Bissen, Starner’s duties as track coach this spring won’t interfere with softball, despite an overlap of about two weeks with the spring and summer season.
“Coach Starner is very organized, dedicated and committed and has taken our track program to an elite level and I am confident he can do the same for our softball program,” Bissen said. “Having a head coach in a spring sport and a summer sport with overlap is not the most ideal situation, but if anyone can make it work, Coach Starner can.”
Should Starner be forced to miss a softball practice due to his track obligations, assistant coaches Kylee Wilson and Ryan Koch are more than capable of filling in, Starner said.
“The challenge of balancing a spring sport with a summer sport is unique for sure,” Starner said. “This might be one of the toughest challenges with the overlap of seasons. While I don’t want either sport to take a back seat to one another, it will take a great deal of work with the coaching staff to get the season off to a great start.”
The first two weeks of practice will be critical, Starner said.
“The spring is a difficult transition into the summer sports for our players, but it also creates another problem for myself in splitting my time between the two sports,” he said. “This is nothing new to our players. But it hasn’t been an issue with head coaching. This is where I will have to rely heavily on my assistant coaches on the days in which I will have track obligations. Again, I don’t want either sport to be a distraction in my preparation for both.”
The Rams were 27-11 a year ago. With six returning starters, including starting pitcher Lisa Nebel and four of their top seven hitters among them, Glenwood should challenge for a Hawkeye 10 Conference crown this season.
“I am excited for the upcoming season,” Starner said. “With the lateness of getting our coaching staff together, we’ve been behind a bit in what we could get arranged for the upcoming season. But we’ve been working with pitchers/catchers since December and started our hitting workouts in February.”
The Rams open the season May 27 at Tri-Center.