Valparaiso University head softball coach Dr. Jerry Stieger has announced his retirement from coaching effective immediately.
Stieger cites increased academic demands that have been placed upon him with the addition of the Masters of Science Degree in Sports Administration that he will oversee. Stieger will remain at the university as the chairman of the Department of Physical Education.
?It is a difficult decision for me, but one that I make knowing that the future of the program is a bright one," Stieger said. ?The University has demonstrated its support for the program with not only building the softball field on campus, but also having plans in place for permanent seating, a press box, and an indoor hitting facility. When completed, it will be one of the best facilities not only in the conference but also in the region."
Stieger coached the Crusaders for five seasons, the longest tenure of any head coach in the program's history. In 2000, he guided the Brown and Gold to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament, marking the first time Valpo qualified for postseason. Stieger was also very instrumental in the creation of the Valparaiso University Softball Field, the Crusaders new on-campus home.
?We are indebted to Dr. Stieger for providing stability to our softball program where we had been having a new coach about every year," Dr. William Steinbrecher, Valparaiso Director of Athletics said. ?It has become increasingly more difficult for him to take time away from his full-time position as chair of the University's physical education department and the addition of a new master's program makes it even more so. He has developed a solid base of players for a new coach to build upon."