Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017

Hornets seek new softball coach

Harvard School District 50 Athletic Director Matt Rife is in a tricky spot. With less than a month before the start of softball practice, Rife is searching for a head coach after previous head coach Rick Cartwright resigned in January.

Cartwright worked for Brown Printing in Woodstock that was purchased by Quad/Graphics last year and then closed. He took a new job in Beloit, Wis., with Stainless Tank and Equipment Company at the beginning of January.

“It was farther away than I anticipated,” Cartwright said. “I just can’t get there on time. I ask the girls for 100 percent and can expect no less out of myself. I just agonized over the decision.

“I love coaching for Harvard. The girls are great.”

Cartwright coached the Hornets for three years and said he was looking forward to the fourth.

“This would have been my fourth year,” Cartwright said. “The seniors were freshmen when I started. The beginning of the program I had installed was coming through this year. I was really looking forward to watching them play.”

Rife said Cartwright’s expertise will be missed.

“He’s very knowledgable in the game with in-game adjustments and things like that,” Rife said. “That was his strong suit. One thing that was out of his control was he wasn’t working in the school building. … I think that something that goes undervalued is the bond that develops [between the coach and the players] throughout the day.”

Rife said he wants to have a candidate identified by the next Harvard School District 50 Board of Education meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 18. He is looking for an internal candidate and does have one who is interested.

“We hope to have that spot filled by the February meeting, and then we can be ready to go for the season,” Rife said. Cartwright said he was proud to watch his players grow as individuals.

“It’s nice to see the girls go off to college,” Cartwright said and noted that all five of his seniors last season went to college, and four of the five were playing softball. “I guess that really is the measure of success. It’s not the wins in the win column. It’s the wins in the life column. If I see them happy and successful, I hope I had a very small part of it.”

The Hornets first practice will be Monday, March 2. Their first game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, against Woodstock High School.