After several years of serving as an assistant coach for the baseball team, Steve Kniffen is taking over as head coach for the Coast Union softball team. Kniffen fills the opening created with the retirement of longtime Coast Union maintenance leader and softball coach Rocky Fordyce, who led the softball program from 1983 to1997, and again from 2010 to 2016.
“Because Rocky was gone, I just threw my name in the hat,” Kniffen explained in a phone interview Saturday, Jan. 15. “The baseball team is in good hands, so I wasn’t leaving them in the lurch.”
Since he’s coached Little League, soccer, junior varsity football, basketball and high school baseball but never softball, he was asked how this would work for him.
“I consider softball to be baseball. I don’t see a difference. Just because they play with a different size ball and a different shaped field, I believe 80 to 90 percent of it the same as baseball.”
Baseball is a mental game, so Kniffen sees the strategies in both games as very similar. The biggest difference between the two sports is “the difference between boys and girls,” he said. “I’ve had a daughter who was an athlete, so I’m comfortable with that.”
Reagan Kniffen, from the class of 2016, was MVP of the basketball team and was All-Coast Valley League first team in softball.
Kniffen, who hasn’t announced his assistant coaches yet, does plan to work with people who are involved in softball. But moreover, as he told the team when he was introduced as coach: “I love baseball. I want those girls to grow up and to teach their children to play baseball. I want to perpetuate the great game of baseball.
“If I can make girls or boys love the game enough that they want to play it with their children when they get older, then I feel I’ve done my job of perpetuating the game in our society.”