New Fairmont softball coach plays waiting game

DELAYED ROLE — Cory Hainy (back row, far left), who began practice March 9 in his first season as the Fairmont varsity softball team, now patiently waits for official beginning of the spring season — which has been delayed at least until May 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hainy, along with Tim Terfehr (middle back) and Eric Muller, guided Fairmont’s 14U team to first-place honors in the St. James tournament last summer. Members of the team include, front row (l-r): Mandy Pytleski, Ashley Muller, Chantel Moeller, Ava Gilmore, Kynlie Anderson and Emily Moeller. Second row: Nevaeh Rahm, Ava Terfehr, Emma Gudahl, Allison Janssen, Paige Hainy and Johanna Petschke. (Photo courtesy of Cory Hainy)

FAIRMONT — One week into his tenure as the Fairmont softball coach, Cory Hainy’s debut season might be over before it really begins.

With COVID-19 shutting down Minnesota State High School League sports — along with classes — across the state a week after practices started, Hainy said he was already through his preparation.

“It would be crazy in and of itself, but for me being a first-year coach, I’ve been going full bore for quite a while just trying to get myself up to speed,” Hainy said. “Doing late nights trying to get everything that goes along with being a head coach. Getting your staff in place, reviewing what equipment you need and getting that ordered and making sure the girls are registered and making sure they’ve all had physicals and getting the gym schedule done and all that stuff that you don’t think of when you’re not the head coach.”

Hainy was set to take over a Cardinal team that went 5-14 last season, 12-11 in 2018 and 17-8 in 2017. Hainy said he didn’t plan to bring sweeping changes to the Cardinal program, just consistency.

“I’m a firm believer in being very positive with the girls, and I’m not saying that that’s a change from what was there before. That’s just my philosophy,” Hainy said. ” … The other thing that I would say that I believe in is to have a quality program, that doesn’t start in ninth grade. You need to be, a head coach needs to be involved with the youth program and be teaching kids the proper way to do things when they’re young, so that by the time they get to the high school program, the foundation is already there. Then, you’re building upon that.”

Hainy said he was drawn to the job because of his love of sports, playing both baseball and softball throughout his life, while coaching any youth sports he could. He said though he would love to get his first year of varsity coaching started, he understands it is far more important to get everyone healthy.

“I love sports, I played them my whole life and I’ve coached for a long time,” Hainy said. “This is a lot more important than that. … this sort of puts other things into perspective. As much as I wanted to come back, I don’t want to come back just because it’s my first year and it’s softball and I really love it and I want the kids to love it. I want to come back if and when it’s safe for that to happen.”

Hainy said he isn’t confident that there will be a 2020 softball season, but he is holding out hope. He said it is hard for him to think after a local shutdown, and talks of a national one, there will be sports any time in the near future.

“It’s hard to see that happening, but there’s always hope,” Hainy said.

Though his first year might not begin until 2021, Hainy did set up his coaching staff.

He said Shane Freese was set to be his varsity assistant, while Joel Anderson was a varsity and junior varsity assistant. Adam Schmidt is set to be the junior varsity head coach, while Tim Terfehr was set as the junior high head coach and Mallory Gochanour was the junior high assistant coach.

With the possibility of the entire spring season being cancelled looming, Hainy said everyone must keep the current situation in perspective.

“I feel for the seniors because, you know, I’ve already had my playing days, they’re already over with. I had my senior year,” Hainy said. “If there turns out to not be a season this year, that’s really who I feel the most sorry for, the seniors. … Now the thing about that is though, it’s all relative, right? Because again, it’s a lot more important that we all stay safe and we all live through this and come out better on the back side.”


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