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Suncoast Softball coach of year

LAURA LEE
Published June 20, 2004

Chuck Poetter started coaching softball 15 years ago. His two daughters were playing little league, being coached by someone else and naturally, he thought, "I can do that," Poetter said.

Since then he's gone on to coach several club softball teams and has seen more than 200 girls go on to play on scholarship in college. His record coaching high school softball hasn't been too bad either. He started at Largo in 1993 and took the Packers to the state final four in 1994. He moved on to Palm Harbor U. in 1998 where he coached the Hurricanes to his and the school's first state title in 1999. With a second title at PHU this season, Poetter is still going strong.

His style is pretty straight forward. He teaches his players that he and the assistant coaches (Eric Kleinman, Ed Hofer and Larry Dowd) are their teammates too. He doesn't single out players as the team captain because he doesn't want to burden the players with any issue other playing softball. So if there's a problem, the girls are told to take to him.

"I'm the captain," Poetter said. "Dump it on me."

The method seems to be working just fine. Poetter has led the Hurricanes to the playoffs every year and is looking forward to next season when the team was invited to play in the prestigious Wendy's Spring Class tournament, which features state championship teams from all over the country. Plus, aside from any incoming freshman, he's got all but one of his players returning for next year.

"That coach of the year stuff, that's real nice," Poetter said, "but I have the best team."

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