Krusemark decides to return to West softball program

·2 min read

Jul. 26—There were some people who thought that after winning a state championship, Mankato West softball coach Don Krusemark might want to finally retire.

Just the opposite.

"That just makes me want to come back and get another one," he said. "It doesn't make me want to retire at all."

Krusemark, 66, said Monday that he will return as the Scarlets softball coach next spring. He has coached softball for 25 seasons, posting a record of 477-116 with 13 Big Nine Conference championships and two state-tournament titles.

He retired as a teacher at West at the end of the school year.

"The kids keep you young, both in the classroom and in sports," he said. "When you work with kids, there's challenges every day, and I like to try to find solutions when things come up. I went back and forth a little but, but I love working with the girls and I wanted to come back."

The Scarlets won the third state championship in program history in June, the second with Krusemark as the head coach. His team also won a state championship in 2016.

"Don has meat so much to our program," West activities director Joe Johnson said. "He has a great wealth of knowledge about softball. When you think of all the things that can come up in softball, he's probably seen it happen before."

Johnson said that Krusemark deals well with athletes and parents and makes the most of his time with the softball program. Johnson said that when the weather was poor this spring, Krusemark did everything he could to get his team prepared.

"He checks all the boxes," Johnson said.

There were six seniors on that team, including three who received all-state honors. Pitcher Abbi Stierlen was a finalist for the Ms. Softball award. The challenge of rebuilding the roster is exciting for Krusemark.

"The cupboard is not bare," he said. "We lost a lot of good seniors, but you lose good seniors every year. Somebody will step up. I look forward to the challenge, and we'll put the best possible team out there. It's fun to watch the girls improve and compete."

Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.