COURTESY OF SHAWNEE STATE UNIVERSITY

Shawnee State softball coach Steve Whittaker is stepping down after leading the Bears to a 92-106 record. Whittaker said he is resigning to address a health issue and to spend more time with his family.

Shawnee softball coach steps down

By DEL DUDUIT

Southern Ohio Today


     He’s calling it quits to spend more time with family and to get healthy.


     Steve Whittaker, the head softball coach at Shawnee State University has announced that he will step down from his position.


     “I’m stepping down to deal with a health issue and to spend more time with my high school sophomore, Madison,” Whittaker said. “I got to coach (older daughter) McKenzie for four years and spend a lot of time with her, and I want to not only watch all of Madison’s activities, but spend valuable time with Madison as well.”


     In five years, Whittaker, from McDermott, posted a 92-106 record at SSU.


     “I have been very fortunate and blessed with the two of them as well as my wife, Teri, for their unwavering support,” he added. “They have been behind me at every turn and I am so thankful to have them to learn from, lean on and laugh with.”


     In his first year at the helm, SSU went 11-35. Then from 2017 to 2020 he guided the Bears to an 81-71 record.


     “Whittaker was extremely dedicated to our softball program and the athletes on his teams,” said SSU Athletic Director Jeff Hamilton. “He knows the game inside and out and each year he has made progress toward the top of the (Mid-South Conference). He has a great feel for the game, but really excelled at bringing in great regional talent.”


     Whittaker recruited Kayla Koch from Lucasville Valley, and Kalle Coleman and Michal Cunningham from Wheelesrburg, along with his daughter McKenzie and Megan Shupert-Martin.


     “He was able to sign both top-rated transfers as well as high school talent that was able to come in and contribute immediately,” Hamilton added. “His tireless recruiting has set the course for a very bright future for SSU softball.”


     In 2005, he organized Buckeye Elite, where he went 350-85 and garnered attention from softball coaches across the state to Scioto County.


     But his main contribution was making sure his student athletes maintained a good GPA.


     After the 2019-20 season, all 10 players on the roster who were eligible collected All-Academic MSC honors.


     “Steve did a great job of bringing in outstanding athletes,” Hamilton said. “Our softball team’s academic standards during his tenure was exceptional.”

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