The head coaching position for the Havre High softball program had sat vacant since the end of last season, but the job has finally been filled.
Danny Wirtzberger is no stranger to coaching Havre Sports, and he can now add Blue Pony fastpitch softball to his list of teams.
Wirtzberger replaces Mike Thill, who coached the Ponies for the past two seasons, but chose to retire after the conclusion of the 2012 season.
“This is something I have thought about doing for the last couple of years,” Wirtzberger said. “And it ended up working out. When it was open a few years ago I thought about it too, but it just wasn’t the right time. But my family was very encouraging in me taking this position, and all of the girls that are around were also encouraging. We have some good girls coming up and I am extremely excited about coaching a game that I love.”
Wirtzberger found the majority of his own athletic success on the baseball diamond and football field, but fastpitch softball has also been a major part of his life.
Wirtzberger has been playing competitive men’s fast pitch since the age of 16. He was a crucial part of the men's league that was formally very popular on the Hi-Line and Havre, and has traveled and played in the men’s state tournament every year for the last 10 years. Wirtzberger traveled to the state tournament this last summer and he and the rest of Gallery Lounge team captured the No. 1 finish and state title.
But softball won’t be Wirtzberger’s only gig.
He will still coach North Star American Legion baseball, as well as continue to be the offensive coordinator under Jason Christenson for the Blue Pony football program. But unfortunately, Wirtzberger will step down as the Havre Middle School track and field coach.
But having a full plate wont effect Wirtzberger’s coaching, as he credits this opportunity to a lot of support from his assistant coaches. Tony Vigliotti and Dick Fusezy have shown a lot of support as Wirtzberger’s North Star assistants, while Mark Majeres and Bob Evans (former Havre High softball coach) will take on the assistant roles for the softball program. Majeres was an assistant last season under Thill.
“Having guys around like that, with their knowledge, and that want to help is huge,” Wirtzberger said.
Wirtzberger takes over a talented squad that has grown bigger and bigger each season. The HHS team housed a lot of young talent a season ago, and they have already shown a lot of interest in getting an early start on next season. And if Wirtzberger can get the team to continue to grow together, he knows the wins should take care of themselves.
“I've had 10 or 15 girls already ask about when we can start,” Wirtzberger said. “I encourage them to take part in other sports, but that is encouraging they want to start already. And my No. 1 goal is to develop the girls’ skills offensively and defensively through hard work. Another goal will be to develop a sense of belonging to a family and team through teamwork, while also developing a sense of pride. That is what being a Blue Pony is all about.”