Even though Bob Sullivan is the new Central Lakes College Raiders head softball coach, not much will change now that the reins are his.
Dennis Eastman, who coached Raiders softball for four years, stepped down at the end of this season to coach the football team. Eastman compiled an 80-47 record in his time as the softball coach.
And things shouldn't change. In his four years as a volunteer assistant coach, Sullivan and Eastman guided the Raiders to two national tournaments, one national championship and two Minnesota Community College Conference state championships.
"I like the way things have been going," said Sullivan. "We have a good philosophy of staying focused and working on our weaknesses and stressing the positives. I plan to keep the program going in the same direction.
"With what I've learned from coach Eastman I'm sure we can continue the success. Finding the right athletes is key."
Finding those athletes, Sullivan points out, will be his biggest challenge. Recruiting is always a challenge in college athletics. That fact is magnified in junior college athletics because athletes don't receive scholarships.
"There's a college for everyone," said Sullivan. "(Recruiting) is going to be my biggest challenge. Coach Eastman has been doing it for many years so I'll be leaning on him, as well as (athletic director) Jane Peterson, for guidance and learn how it's done."
Sullivan's first order of business as head coach will be to start putting together a team for next spring. That won't be an easy task as the Raiders lose seven sophomores.
"We only have two or three returning players from this year's team back," Sullivan said, "so we're going to have a very young team. We lost most of our position players, including our pitchers. I've gone to a lot of high school softball games so I'll try to recruit some girls."
Sullivan brings 14 years of coaching experience with him. He spent 10 years coaching softball as a volunteer with parks and recreation programs in the Brainerd area. The last four he's been with CLC.
"I've had the luxury of coaching and working with some great coaches and great athletes," said Sullivan. "I have a passion for the game of softball. I hope to fill coach Eastman's shoes and I hope to continue the tradition we started."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.