EL DORADO — The Butler Grizzlies run of success in softball has been no secret to anyone with a pulse over the last decade and head coach Doug Chance took the time to realize things needed to be shaken up to keep the momentum going within the program.
"As an entire staff, we needed some new energy," Chance said. "This is what I think will help us keep what we’ve built going."
Chance went out and found two former players who have excelled in either the collegiate ranks coaching or the travel ball; as well as being superstars as their respective Division I schools.
Kenzie Young and Morgan Bohanan come back to Butler after time away and are immediately looking to get to work keeping Butler a national powerhouse.
"Anywhere they went, the always spoke highly of Butler," Chance said. "Butler is home to them."
The duo brings a wealth of experience from teams that won national titles.
"It was no brainer on both of them," Chance said. "On the field they were such good leaders. I knew it would translate well to coaching."
Young, who played on the 2017 National Championship team, went on to play at North Texas where she excelled for the Mean Green. She recently graduated from North Texas and it will be her first coaching experience.
"She always knew she could hit whoever she was pitching," Chance said. "That confidence really rubs off on everyone around her. in coach that confidence every time we step on the field we should win. That’s big picture thinking."
Bohanan was a part of the first National Championship in 2016. A native of Goddard spent one year at Butler before heading off to Omaha to play for the Creighton Bluejays. She coached at Otero College in Colorado. During her time as assistant coach at Otero, the Rattlers went 32-16 and were on pace to do well in the 2020 season before COVID-19 canceled the season. Otero was 2-0 on the year.
"Just her walking in the door, the credibility she brings," Chance said of Bohanan. "She was able to recruit and turn that program around on a dime. She will be able to keep us going with that ability here."
While both coaches did not play with each other at Butler during their first go-round, they have interacted before. They were named to the Wichita Eagle’s 2014 All-Metro team.
Both coaches took similar journeys, heading off to Division I schools before transferring to Butler. They would win a National Championship with the Grizzlies and then head off to another Division I program.
The two are set to replace Zach Sigler and Darren Young. Sigler spent 17 years with the Grizzlies has moved over to be an assistant at Hutchinson CC. Sigler was a part of the staff who won the NFCA’s National Coaching Staff of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017.
"Zach really needs to be a head coach somewhere," Chance said. "We’re already running into each other recruiting-wise."
New NJCAA softball restrictions limit the Grizzlies to only seven scrimmage dates in the fall and 60 consecutive calendar days of practices and scrimmages. So, the time for the team to come together under new coaching will be shorter than usual.
"The fall time will be strictly development," Chance said. "Getting everyone through practice will be important."
With new COVID-19 restrictions on the season, the dates are not changing. However, They will be limited to only 30 dates for competition.
For Butler softball, staying at that national contender is priority No. 1. With the help of Young and Bohanan, Chance thinks they can continue the success they’ve sustained over the last decade.
"You never want to get stagnant," Chance said. "They’re ready to get started at Butler."