Chadron State College head softball coach Dr. Robert Stack on Thursday announced his retirement, following the 2017 season, from the coaching profession after 10 years guiding the program.
“The experience has been more gratifying that I could have ever realized when I first took the position,” said Stack. “One of the toughest things I’m leaving behind is how rewarding it is to know players and their families at all levels.”
Coach Stack took over a fledgling program in 2008, in only its second consecutive year of existence after the sport was dropped by the college in 1982 and reinstated for the 2007 season. CSC softball has seen consistent improvement nearly every season since then, culminating into one of Chadron State’s best athletic programs both on and off the field.
Stack’s first three teams improved each season, and he took the program’s original freshman class to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference postseason tournament by the time they were seniors in 2010, bettering their conference record each year.
In 2014, the Eagle skipper led his team to a breakthrough season as the program experienced its first winning record in eight years and tied for the runner-up spot in the conference standings. He was subsequently named the RMAC Coach of the Year following the season.
Most recently his 2016 squad again experienced unprecedented success, achieving the program’s best overall season record and qualifying for its third conference tournament in seven years. Tayler Hall, CSC’s ace in the circle, became Stack’s second major conference award winner, taking home Pitcher of the Year honors. Casey Williams was also RMAC Pitcher of the Year in 2009.
Hall is one of the four First Team All-RMAC players whom Stack has mentored, with 13 of his players in total making the all-conference teams and 11 honorable mentions.
In addition, Stack’s players have garnered 18 Academic All-Conference awards on top of 34 named to the RMAC Academic Honor Roll. Two of those – Casey Williams and Cassie Humphrey – became the RMAC Academic Player of the Year. Breeze Phillips twice accepted the conference’s Summit Award for the highest GPA at the conference tournament site.
Chadron State is one of two schools to have multiple RMAC Academic Players of the Year and the only one to receive two Summit Awards in softball.
An RMAC-best nine Eagles saw their names listed for conference academic honors in 2016, with a league-high three First Team selections.
Stack retires knowing the program has firmly been established as one of the premier programs in its league, and has acquired the stability to see its success replicated in the future.
“From where the program started 11 years ago, to where we’re at today,” said Stack, “I think we’re in a much better place. It all starts with the players. They’ve bought into a real change in culture – especially in the past four or five years. The players here now – and the ones who will be here in the future – they’re really talented, and I’ve told them that.”
“For myself,” he added, “it’s all about the timing. The continuity of having the same coaching staff for two consecutive years is huge, and the job is starting to warrant somebody who can give all of their focus to the girls and the team. In my opinion, Chadron State softball is on the map, and it’s ready to stay there because there’s a winning philosophy and ideology that the players have bought into.”
Stack also acknowledged the contributions of all of the assistant coaches that have helped in their own ways throughout the years, and the administrators at all levels who have assisted with everything that has been accomplished.
Dr. Stack will continue in his role as a Professor of mathematical sciences and Department Chair of mathematics at Chadron State College.