RCC picks new softball coach

Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Al Eckmann, Austin Packers assistant softball coach, will take over the Riverland Community College as head coach next year. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The Blue Devils are turning to a familiar face to take over at the helm of their softball team this upcoming spring.

Riverland Community College has hired former Austin softball coach Al Eckmann, and they’re hoping he can bring wins for them like he did for the Packers.

Eckmann, who was the head coach at Austin for 14 years, finished his high school coaching career with a record of 220-80, along with three state championships and five state tournament appearances.

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Eckmann coached at the University of Minnesota for three years and was an assistant coach at Austin for four years, but now he’s ready to take on a head coaching job again where he can teach players the game he knows very well.

“I was in the classroom for 17 years and I really liked teaching. Then I went into administration and I really missed teaching,” Eckmann said. “(Now) I’m retired from everything else and I’m not working on committees. I’m working on nothing but softball. It’s a good feeling.”

Eckmann has been on the job for a couple of weeks and he’s already spoken to every player whom he expects to be on this year’s team. He’s also ready to start recruiting some area players.

“I’m going to be very active in recruiting. I think the talent base in southeastern Minnesota and northern Iowa is really good. I’m really looking forward to finding some and I’ve found some already,” he said. “I want it to be everybody’s team and not just mine. I want area high school coaches to work with me and know their kids can go to Riverland and it’s part of their program too.”

Eckmann, who likes to coach with a small ball approach on offense, is hoping he can continue to win at Riverland they way he won for the Packers.

“The administration here is very supportive; they want a winning softball team and so do I,” he said.

Former RCC head softball coach Dan Swift resigned, but he will remain the school’s men’s basketball coach.