By ERIC X. VICCARO
During the Ste. Genevieve R-II School District board of education meeting on May 18, Becky Keim was named new head softball coach.
Keim brings a wealth of experience to the job — having been a four-year starter for NCAA Division I Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.
“We are excited with the hire of Becky Keim,” said Ste. Genevieve athletic director. “She brings experience both playing at a high level and coaching in established, successful programs.
“We’ve had great coaches in the past that have improved our program over the years,” Nix continued. “This is the first time we’ve had a head coach that has played competitive, fast-pitch softball.”
Nix is confident the Dragons will improve even more with Keim at the helm. Ste. Genevieve is coming off a season in which it compiled a school-record 16 wins.
Keim replaces longtime Ste. Genevieve coach and guidance counselor Russell Toombs.
“It feels like part of me has been missing since quarantine started, and the last two years (in general),” Keim said. “I am glad to get back to doing what I love, and I hope to grow the program. The girls are excited.”
In other softball moves, Aaron Stuppy has been promoted from volunteer to paid assistant coach — joining Jamie Viox on staff. Jared Bonnell has resigned as an assistant coach.
In the state of Missouri, coaches are allowed 20 contact days with players during the summer season.
Keim expects to use this time to put together an informal scrimmage schedule and use Google docs and videos as means of instruction.
She has been associated with winning softball programs her entire life, winning a state championship while playing infield at Oakville. The Tigers topped Kansas City Park Hill for third place in 2001.
Becky was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch co-player of the year her senior year at Oakville. She also played soccer at Oakville, primarily as a defensive player.
While at SIU, Keim learned from one of the best coaching in NCAA Division I history in Kerri Blaylock.
“She was all about being blue-collar, and working hard,” Keim said. “That’s what I am going to share with the kids. If they work hard, they will get better.”
Toombs spent the past couple of weeks showing Keim about the current Dragons’ program and facilities, including Leon’s Field.