By Brent Huelamann
After 5 seasons at the helm of the Hornettes Softball team, Dempsey Witte has resigned. Witte, although coach for only 5 years became the winningest coach in program history. Witte passed Chad Malawy, 156 career wins, last season against Central, and finished with 173 wins. Witte's record at Nashville is 173-19 an incredible .901 winning percentage.
In five years as head coach, Witte advanced to the state tournament in three seasons. In 2012, just his second season as coach, Witte guided the Hornettes to the second state championship in team history, the first in Class 2A. The only state championship before Witte arrived was in 2001 when Malawy led the Hornettes to victory in Class A. Witte would advance to the state tournament again the following season, finishing 3rd in Class 2A. Witte would go 39-2 in his last season as head coach of the Hornettes softball team and bring home the school's third state championship in a thrilling 11 inning game, as Mackenzie McFeron scored the game-winning run.
Nashville High School boasts the eleventh winningest program in Illinois' softball history with a record of 705-341 and a .674 winning percentage in the 39 years of the program.
Athletic Director Wayne Harre praised Witte's dedication to the program over the past 5 years. “He brought a lot of things to the table with the softball program, and him leaving puts a void there.” Harre went onto to talk about how the program has high expectations and is one of the premier sports at Nashville High School
AlthoughtWitte has resigned as the head softball coach, Witte has not stepped entirely out of coaching at Nashville High School. Witte is still the JV coach for the girls basketball team, as well as helping out with the football team. When asked about his future Witte said,
“I've still got a lot of energy as a coach, and would like to be back in some capacity someday, whether it be a head coach or an assistant coach, but as far as right now I think I'll step back for a little bit”. Witte left the door open for a return in the future, saying he will never say never. Witte talked about his daughter possibly playing in the future, as well as nieces that may play in the future.
Witte couldn't pinpoint a specific memory that was his favorite but talked about a couple of games that stood out. “Back to that 2011 team, my first year just coming in how excited they were to win a regular season game. It was like the 6th or 7th game of the season, against Johnston City, they've got a good program, they'd been to state the previous year, and we won that game down at Johnston City. It was really cold, lower 40s, how excited they were to win that game, I just felt like some of the energy was getting into the program, and that almost felt like the turning point for us.” Witte talked about how the 2011 team laid the foundation for the success that the program would have over the next couple of years.
Witte talked about the state championship games, the battles with conference rivals as some of his favorite moments. “ A lot of great memories, all the way up to the end with Mackenzie sliding across home plate. It's hard to put my finger on just one.”
Witte praised the coaches on his staff during his time as the head coach, and also Coach Malawy. “It's just like another step in the staircase, so to speak. Coach Malawy did a great job and I was fortunate to learn from him. He was the coach, when I became assistant coach and asked me to help out a little, and if you go back through his staffs, with Charlie Heck, Neil Hamon, and myself we all became head coaches. It's was like a big collective effort with all of the coaches in the program.”
Witte resigned with a .901 winninge percentage, 2 State Championships in Class 2A, and a third place trophy to his resume.