By Rob Kiser
It has been an interesting year for local softball coach Dan Cain.
And now he is already started on his next challenge — accepting the job as head softball coach as Edison State Community College as they re-start the softball program in the spring of 2018.
“They did have softball at one time years ago,” Cain said. “But it didn’t last very long. Now, they are committed to starting a softball program.”
And it would be hard to find a better choice than Cain.
Cain won numerous, sectional and league titles during a high school coaching career that included stops at Covington, Miami East, Troy and Troy Christian, where he always found success.
And Cain was actually planning on making Covington the final stop, beginning this spring.
“I would have been happy coaching at Troy (where he coached last year) this year,” Cain said. “But Dean Denlinger left Covington to take the Miami East baseball job. The diamond is two blocks from my house. I was thinking I started at Covington and I could finish there too.”
But, after accepting the Covington job, he got a call from Edison State.
“I am not getting any younger,” Cain said with a laugh. “I figured if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, it might not come around again.”
Originally, Cain had planned on coaching at Covington this spring and recruiting at the same time before starting at Edison.
“Now, I can see that wouldn’t have worked,” Cain said. “I am glad Edison insisted on me resigning from Covington to accept the job.”
And Cain and program took the next step in the process, signing their first recruit this week.
Graham catcher Mackenzie Smith, the daughter of Dave and Angie Smith, signed with the Chargers.
“She’s been a member of the Southwest District underclassmen all-star team for two straight years,” Cain said. “She’ll be a four-year starter for Ralph Foster at Graham this spring. She has received league honors in the CBC.”
Smith has over 430 putouts in her first three years at Graham and a fielding percentage of over .980.
“I have several other players who are ready to sign,” Cain said. “I held off because Mackenzie (Smith) wanted to be the first girl to sign (at Edison State).She’s a class kid from a class program that teaches the right things. We couldn’t ask for a better start in our recruiting process and we’re excited she chose Edison State.”
With his coaching experience, recruiting isn’t really a problem for Cain.
“I have contacted all the select coaches, which is basically what I can do right now until the softball season starts,” Cain said. “Then, I can talk to the coaches and the seniors (who are playing).”
One issue Cain doesn’t have to worry about is the diamond.
“There is a diamond back there,” Cain said. “We are basically partnering with an 11U baseball team that uses it. All the dimensions (distance between bases and between pitcher’s mound and home plate) are the same. They have put a fence in and then we will put a dugout in.
“It is going to be nice to have a facility on campus. I know Sinclair, for example, plays their home games at Xenia, which is a little bit of a road trip to play a home game.”
Cain said it has been interesting to begin putting his first team together.
“I have heard from players as old as 31,” he said. “It has been pretty interesting.”
The goal is to have a 20-player roster next spring.
“But you don’t want to have 20 freshman, or you are going to have 20 sophomores the next year, so that is not going to work for recruiting,” Cain said. “I have talked to some prospective players already at the school who are on the basketball team — or who just played softball in high school and happen to be going to Edison.”
Cain doesn’t feel talent will be an issue. The Chargers will compete in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference immediately and will build up to having 15 scholarships available in three years.
“There are (a lot of strong high school programs in the area),” Cain said. “Edison is a good fit and way to save money on college. I want to have some four-year schools on the schedule to give our players the opportunity to be seen if they want to on and play once they are done here. I feel like we can be competitive right away.”
Like Cain has been everywhere he has been.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.