Head coach role a big change for Athens grad Hafer
For Athens graduate Mallory Hafer everything changed a month or so ago.
When the softball season began Hafer was an assistant coach at Munch High School, the same place she also served as an assistant basketball and soccer coach.
However, when the head coach position became open during the season it was Hafer who stepped into the new role.
"It was different," Hafer said. "The only good thing was I had been with these girls for a while. They know my intensity level as a coach many of them have been around me in soccer and basketball. They knew what to expect. A lot of them have told me the practices are more intense and a little more organized."
Becoming a head coach is always a challenge, becoming a head coach in the middle of the season brings even more challenges.
"I actually changed all of the signs," Hafer said. "Because I teach at the high school I would freeze them in the hallways and make them give me the signs. They got them really quick and pretty soon they were making me give them the signs"
While Hafer has plenty of experience as an assistant coach, being a varsity head coach means new responsibilities.
"I am starting to notice the difference," Hafer said. "Particularly with all the paperwork it's different.
But, I'm fortunate, this is a great group of girls."
One of the things that has made the transition easier for Hafer is taking over a team that has been easy to deal with.
"Absolutely, I love the girls on the team and their parents," Hafer said. "They have been so supportive, the community is so supportive. I often walk to the field and on cold days parents a lot of times offer me a ride home or take me to dinner. It's been great. This is a great community."
And Hafer took over a Muncy team that had some good senior leaders, including three-time all state player Hannah Cole, and plenty of talent. The Indians were one out away from reaching the district final and earning a spot in states.
"She's the all-stater," Hafer said of Cole. "But the whole senior class is great. They were the class that was the first team to win a district title their freshman year. Especially the second half of conference play, they have really been great. The team also has a lot of sophomores and they really stepped up."
As a coach Hafer has always wanted to see Muncy's teams win, but now as a head coach she has started to feel the stress a little more.
"It's harder than just standing at third base during games," she said. "Definitely the stress is a little more. It's definitely a good feeling when we do well and you take it harder when you lose."
For Hafer getting the chance to be head coach now will make things easier if she is the head coach in the future.
"This season is good, it helps me prepare for what is to come," she said. "If I am coaching next year I will be more prepared."
And, this year Hafer has done everything she can to learn as she has gone.
"The former head coach teaches at the high school and I ask him a lot of questions," Hafer said. "He's extremely supportive, he wants me to succeed."
The plan for next year if Hafer is the full-time softball coach is to continue to be an assistant basketball and soccer coach, but she does know that will take up a lot of time.
"I have no doubt it will be hard," she said. "We will see how this year goes and if it doesn't look pretty we can make changes."