Oak Creek — More than 20 years ago, Oak Creek athletic director Greg Lampe founded the school's softball program. In the time since, the program has flourished as one of the most successful in southeastern Wisconsin.
As head coach from 1987-2004, Lampe compiled a record of 284-52, won nine conference championships and qualified for the WIAA state tournament five times.
On Sunday, Lampe will be among the six-member class of inductees into the Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Oak Creek NOW's David Cotey spoke with Lampe about his career and the induction:
NOW: Why did you get into coaching, and more specifically, why did you start the Oak Creek softball program?
GL: When I graduated from high school and went to college for physical education, one of the things I wanted to do was coach. Fortunately, I had some opportunities come my way, returned to my alma mater and things fell into place. In the 1980s, we had a group of parents very interested in extending their daughters' chances to play ball. With their hard work and help from the administration, we started the program.
NOW: Looking back on your career, what was your top accomplishment as a coach?
GL: Getting the program growing and having the success that we did and that we still do, as far as a reputation of being very competitive. So much of that is attributed to the kids. We were fortunate to have great groups of kids and their sisters come through here that could play that caliber of ball. Having that success and continuing that through (current coach) Nathan Vance (is his top accomplishment).
NOW: Since starting the softball program at Oak Creek in 1987, what are the most significant changes you've seen in the high school game?
GL: The pitching rule - you could only pitch 14 consecutive innings and had to take a day off. Now there's no limit. And just the speed of the game: the pitching, the hitting. The changes as far as additional games that coaches have requested, the change in the state tournament site - that was a big thing that coaches pushed for. Now we're moving the pitching distance back from 40 (feet) to 43. Seeing the ability of the girls, not only here but our conference and statewide, there are some phenomenal athletes that play that sport.
NOW: You have been the high school's athletic director for nearly four years? Do you miss coaching, and would you ever consider getting back into it?
GL: Absolutely, I miss it. This position won't allow me to (coach), but if I ever do decide to retire form this position, I might look into working at the lower levers and help develop kids. That's what I miss the most, the daily contact with the kids.
NOW: What does being inducted into the hall of fame mean to you?
GL: I'm honored. To be honored by my peers is tremendous. Nobody goes into starting a coaching career with this in mind. It's one of those things, I've been very fortunate with the kids and the assistant coaches I had over the years. One thing led to another as far as wins, conference championships and state appearances. But to be honored by your peers is a humbling experience.
If you go
WHAT: Wisconsin Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Hall of Fame luncheon
WHEN: 12:15 a.m. Sunday, during two-day WFSCA annual coaching clinic
WHERE: Ramada Inn, Stevens Point
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