Switching sides

The Bulldogs lose longtime head coach

The all-time winningest coach in the history of Ferris State’s softball program has decided to make a major change in her life: quit coaching.

Former Bulldogs softball coach Keri Becker has joined Grand Valley State University Athletics as the Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Women’s Administrator.

“I knew I would be working in athletics administration, I just didn’t know when,” said Becker. “The opportunity presented itself and it was a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”

Five years ago, Becker was first introduced to athletic administration when she became a Senior Women’s Athletic Administrator for the Bulldogs. During the summer of 2010, Becker held the position of Interim Athletics Director at Ferris.

“I’ll be able to impact all student athletes in a different way, rather than if I were coaching,” said Becker. “I can have an impact on 500 plus athletes at Grand Valley and that’s the way I’m looking at it.”

Becker began her career as a head coach at Ferris and went on to coach 14 seasons with the Bulldogs. She helped contribute to the history of Ferris’ softball program by leading the Bulldogs to 11 winning seasons, three NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances, NCAA DII Regional Tournament and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship titles, and one overall GLIAC Championship crown.

Becker thinks she might not have been ready to leave coaching just yet, but she knew she wanted to remain in athletics and at some point work more in athletic administration.

“I know I’ll miss coaching, but I don’t think that part was ever going to change,” said Becker.

Becker was a three-time GLIAC Softball Coach of the Year Award recipient for her leadership display in the 1997, 2003, and 2008 seasons. She compiled a career mark of 433−276−1.

Although her new position will be more of an office job than coaching, by no means is this a normal day job, said Becker.

“My days will be filled like they were as a softball coach, just with different things,” said Becker.

Becker knows she is joining the Bulldogs’ largest rival in the Grand Valley Lakers, but said her ties to Ferris are much stronger than the rivalry.

“Ferris has been a great place to be able to build relationships with the women on the softball team,” said Becker. “Many of my best memories will be those spent with my alumni and players off the field rather than on the field because of the people I had available to surround myself.”

Former assistant coach Dawn Thompson has been named as the interim head coach for the 2011-12 academic year. Thompson served as an assistant coach on the softball staff for the last three seasons. Becker believes Thompson is an excellent choice to replace her and has the passion, dedication, and skill set to be a great head coach. Thompson being named as interim head coach eases Becker’s mind a little bit because she knows the softball team is in great hands. n