Bob Tabeling’s retirement from coaching at Trinity Lutheran High School didn’t last long.
With his youngest daughter one year away from becoming a Cougar, Tabeling decided to reach out to softball coach Chad Goecker to see if he needed an assistant coach this spring.
Tabeling had worked as an assistant coach for his daughter’s fast-pitch travel softball team, and fell in love with the sport.
When the former Trinity head baseball coach learned that Goecker was stepping down from head coaching duties, Tabeling decided to put his name in for the position.
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The Seymour Parks and Rec. Director will now lead the Cougars from the dugout.
"I first asked Chad (Goecker) if he needed any assistant because my daughter Bailey will be coming here next year," Tabeling said. "Initially, I was going to be an assistant with him, but he has a son, Tyler, that’s playing baseball and he wants to spend time watching them. We talked about it a little, and decided he would like to have the opportunity to come back and coach if he could. He has come out a couple times for us. He asked me if I would be interested."
Tabeling coached the Cougars’ baseball team for 13 years before stepping away from the program in the spring of 2016.
Under Tabeling, the Cougars won four of the school’s five sectional titles. Tabeling had a 131-134 record as baseball coach.
"I did miss high school coaching," Tabeling said. "It was fun to get my son Bobby through his last year of baseball. You’re never really sure how you’re going to react when you’ve been doing it for so long. I did miss the coaching piece of it, the interaction. That’s one thing, over the past couple years, I’ve still been able to do. You get to teach them a sport you enjoy being around. It surprised me a little bit, but I’ve enjoyed getting back to it."
When Tabeling first started getting involved with softball, he fell in love with the sport.
"My youngest daughter got involved in fast-pitched softball, and I found that I really enjoyed it," Tabeling said. "I became an assistant coach with her travel teams, and I loved the speed of the game. There are are a tremendous amount of similarities to baseball, but it’s a shorter, quicker game. I really enjoyed that piece of it."
Tabeling expects his team to be competitive this spring.
"Right now, we really haven’t talked much about a win-loss record," Tabeling said. "It’s about communicating and talking to each other. We want to make sure we do those fundamental things that stop us from any unnecessary injury. We’ve really talked more about positioning, coverage, defense and fundamentals. We want to be solid as we start the season off."
The Cougars, which are coming off a sectional title in 2018, have a mix of experience on this year’s roster. There are 11 players on this year’s team.
"Everything has been going very well," Tabeling said. "We’re a little short on numbers, and we have a variety of experience. We have four or five travel ball players that have spent a lot of time playing the game, and some new players.
We have some freshman and a senior that hasn’t spent a lot of time playing. What I’ve tried to emphasize is that they need to see it to understand. To the younger players, I’ve conveyed it’s all about repetition. Some are a few years behind in the process, but they’ve been working hard to catch up. It’s good to see. It’s a tough sport to pick up. We have a lot of work to do, but I think we will be a very competitive team this year."
On top of some help from Goecker and Eddie Reynolds, Herb Gross and Orlando Munoz will assistant coach the Cougars.
Tabeling said he is happy to be back at Trinity.
"I have spent a lot of time with Trinity," he said. "Our family loves this school. The school has been a big part of our lives."