The Collinsville Unit 10 School Board on Wednesday approved Dan Toberman as the new head softball coach for Collinsville High School.
Toberman will replace Cyndi Kolda, the winningest coach in Kahok Softball history, whose contract was not renewed for the 2015 season. Toberman will inherit a team coming of consecutive 17-19 seasons.
Toberman is an English teacher at CHS who coached football for six years and spent last season as a coach for the freshman baseball team. Although this will be his first time coaching softball, Toberman, who described himself as a leader, mentor and coach, believes the Kahoks will succeed under his leadership.
“I’m 100 percent confident in my ability to do this,” Toberman said. “It’s always been a passion, I know the game. There are going to be things that I’m going to learn, and I know I might make a mistake or two, but my goal is to not make the same mistake twice.”
One stop for Toberman, as he does “everything he can” to learn about coaching softball, will be some of the local colleges to pick the brains of their coaches. He will go to practices, learn what works for the college coaches, and bring those things back to the Kahoks, Toberman said. Videos, clinics and research are also on the first-year coach’s agenda.
Athletic Director Darin Lee said two other candidates were interviewed for the position, including one who is not on staff in Unit 10. Toberman was chosen for his professionalism and his record as a good coach for football and baseball, Lee said.
Expectations were high for the Kahok softball team that entered 2014 with its entire starting lineup returning. The 2015 edition returns the same starters, except Jessica Ledford, who left the team during the 2014 season.
“I understand that we have a great core coming back,” Toberman said. “I’m really excited about the possibilities there.”
With his baseball coaching duties, Toberman was only able to see the team play a couple of times last season, he said.
Toberman said his goal is to get everyone doing the right things in every aspect of their lives: in the classroom, at home, in the weight room, working out and on the field.
“What I’m going to stress is, respect the game, respect your teammates,” Toberman said. “And I believe, if you’re doing all of those right things, the team goals, as far as wins and losses, are going to come.”
A Belleville East and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville graduate, Toberman worked as an editor and reporter for local newspapers before getting his teaching certificate in 2008 as part of a master’s program at McKendree University. He was hired that same year as an English teacher at Collinsville High School.
BethAnn Swarz and Stacy Hartle, assistants from last year’s team, will return for the 2015 season, Toberman said. More coaches will be named in the coming months.
In eight seasons as the head softball coach, Kolda compiled a 145-130 record, including two regional championships. The Kahoks started the 2014 season 9-3, before losing eight of their next nine games. The team finished 4-10 in Southwestern Conference play, losing to Belleville East in the first round of the Regionals.
Amid formal complaints, Kolda was not asked to return. Calling the situation a personnel matter, Lee said he could not confirm if the complaints played a role in the decision to not renew Kolda’s contract.
“It was a collective decision made by the administration and taken to the school board,” Lee said.
Practice for the 2015 season begins in late February. The first game will be March 19 against Mascoutah at Kahok Softball Field in the Jaycee Sports Complex.