by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
The Maple Grove softball team is motivated to achieve the high goals they have set for this season, but they have found extra inspiration from assistant coach Pam Hennen.
Hennen, a longtime high school softball coach who was inducted into the Minnesota Softball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 2010, has been battling breast cancer this season. Her determination and positive attitude have inspired the Crimson to strive even harder to achieve their team goals.
“Our inspiration for this season has come from Pam,” junior captain Jordan Mauch said. “While Pam battles breast cancer, she has taught us many life lessons using her experience and the game of softball. While we always strive to win, we realize in the grand scheme of things, the experience is more important than the final score.”
Hennen coached at Park Center for 14 years, during which the Pirates won seven section titles. At Park Center, Hennen made her mark more than in her win-loss record. She also started a campaign to build a first class softball field for the Park Center program in the mid-1990s. With sheer determination, Hennen and other volunteers built a top class softball field at Park Center.
That started a wave of softball field construction at other schools.
After Hennen resigned from Park Center, she was invited by Crimson head coach Jim Koltes to join the Maple Grove program as the assistant coach 13 years ago. Koltes has credited Hennen for helping him and the players with her experience and knowledge of the game. Now, she is inspiring them with her courageous battle against cancer.
“As much as we want to win games for ourselves, this year we have something else to fight for,” senior captain Abby Bunnell said.
Hennen, who missed only eight days during the season, is upbeat and looking forward to coaching at the state tournament.
“I am back to work full time and I have finished the initial treatments for my breast cancer,” she said. “I will be coaching at state.”
Contact Bob San at firstname.lastname@example.org