Joey White for WVMetroNews.com
CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. – Chapmanville softball coach Ronnie Ooten continues to pick up accolades as he coaches in his 37th year with the Tigers.
After leading his team to a 33-6 record and a state championship last season, Ooten was recognized in January by the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) as the 2016 National Softball Coach of the Year.
“I get excited even thinking about it because there are some great softball coaches in this country, and West Virginia is loaded with them,” said Ooten. “It’s just a great privilege to be named the national coach in softball. It’s unreal – I don’t realize how important it is right now.”
Along with the honor from the NFHS, Chapmanville Regional High School announced earlier this year that the school will be renaming the softball field in Ooten’s honor.
Ooten founded the Chapmanville High School softball team 36 years ago, and remained with the program when Chapmanville Regional High School was formed from consolidation. He’s currently 680-165 as a head coach with six state championships.
“We’re a softball community, there’s no doubt about that,” said Ooten. “We just have good kids, a great lead-up program and a great middle school program. These programs coming up are really what makes our high school program better.
Last year’s state championship didn’t come without some bumps in the road. After losing in the early round of the state tournament, Chapmanville had to battle through the losers bracket and win three games in one day to capture the school’s first title since 2010.
“We sort of gelled as a family,” said Ooten. “The girls got ready to play down the stretch, and we just wanted to win another one.”
Ooten admits to having a great deal of help as a softball coach, including from his wife Barb Ooten, his assistant coach for the past 36 years.
“About the only time we ever disagree is softball season,” Ooten said jokingly. “But I wouldn’t do it any other way. I couldn’t do it without her.”
The Tigers show no signs of slowing down this season, as Ooten’s team started 2017 with a 10-0 record, including a string of shutout victories. The expectations for this season remain high, as is per usual with Chapmanville softball.
“Our goal is to go to states every year and do the best we can, and we’ve been there quite a bit,” said Ooten. “I’ve been blessed to get the best out of the kids and they seem to play their hearts out for me, and that’s a great thing.”
With Ooten at the helm, the Chapmanville Tigers look focused to bring home back-to-back titles for the second time in school history. As for the future, it looks like the head softball coach has no intentions of slowing down any time soon.
“I’m 70 years old, and I look forward to softball every year, and working with these kids,” said Ooten. “It makes me feel young.”
|Chapmanville Regional High School|
2017 Softball Schedule
|3||03/23/17||5:30PM||A –||HERBERT HOOVER||5||–||1||W|
|4||03/24/17||5:30PM||A –||MINGO CENTRAL||14||–||0||W|
|5||03/25/17||2:00PM||H –||SPRING VALLEY||11||–||0||W|
|11||Cancelled||6:00PM||H –||JAMES MONROE||–|
|12||Cancelled||12:00PM||H –||NICHOLAS COUNTY||–|
|14||04/04/17||6:00PM||H –||MAN HIGH SCHOOL||6||–||0||W|
|18||04/08/17||2:00PM||A –||SPRING VALLEY||–|
|23||04/14/17||5:30PM||A –||LINCOLN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL||–|
|24||04/17/17||6:00PM||A –||MAN HIGH SCHOOL||–|
|26||04/19/17||5:30PM||H –||MINGO CENTRAL||–|
|27||04/20/17||5:30PM||H –||WYOMING EAST||–|
|28||04/21/17||5:30PM||H –||HERBERT HOOVER||–|
|wins: 10 lost: 0 ties: 0|