Thursday, July 10, 2014

Assistant takes over for a legend

February 19. 2013 8:38PM
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For the first time in 23 years, Nanticoke will have a new softball coach.

Ryan Stetz was named to take over the program from retiring coach Gary Williams. The school announced Stetz's promotion Tuesday morning, after the approval of the School Board on Monday night.

It feels really good, Stetz said of his first head coaching appointment. It's great to feel the excitement of the students at the school and the members of the team. Also, the support of the faculty and administration has been great.

Stetz has served as an assistant with the team the past three seasons, including being there when the 2010 squad won the PIAA Class 2A state championship. During that time, the Trojanettes went 69-6.

Obviously, that's a combination of great coaching on Gary's part and great players, Stetz said. It was a lot of fun to be a part of it.

Stetz is a 1996 graduate of Nanticoke, where he was a multi-sport standout at the school. He was selected as Athlete of the Year by the school for the 1995-96 school year and was his senior class' president. During his playing days, Stetz played wide receiver and defensive back for the Trojans football team, was an all-star guard on the basketball team and was a standout center fielder for the baseball team.

Baseball was his top sport, as he was an offensive dynamo while starting for three seasons with the Trojans. He continued his playing career at Lackawanna College, earning roles with the Lackawanna baseball and basketball teams. He continued his education at Bloomsburg University, where he completed his bachelor's degree, and then Wilkes, where he earned a master's degree in education.

In a sense, being a teacher, you see so many different things, Stetz said. If you had told me five years ago about softball, I never would have thought about being the head coach. But there are so many great families involved and a great history in the program.

Even former players have been in contact with kind words of support.

After college, he returned to the Nanticoke school district as first an alternative education teacher and currently as a social studies teacher. During his 12 years at his alma mater, he has served as an assistant with the Trojans football team, and is currently an assistant with the boys basketball squad.

Williams leaves the Nanticoke softball program after 22 seasons with the Trojanettes. He compiled a 330-166 record and won PIAA Class 2A state championships in 2003 and 2010.

In 2003, Nanticoke defeated Center High 4-0 in the final. The title was the first for a Wyoming Valley Conference school in softball. In 2010, Williams led his squad to an 11-inning, 3-1 victory over Philipsburg-Osceola.

The Trojanettes were wildly successful under Williams through his final game, a PIAA semifinal loss to District 4 champion Warrior Run on June 11. The team completed a perfect regular season in 2011, losing the District 2 final to Elk Lake.

I'd be a fool not to, Stetz said when asked if he would seek out advice from Williams. And I'll take aspects of what I've learned from other coaches, too. But I will put my own mark on the team, too.

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