Legendary Canisius College softball coach Mike Rappl has decided to step aside.
The only head coach in the 35-year history of Golden Griffins softball announced his retirement Monday.
Rappl leaves with a career record of 831-526-2, making him the winningest head coach in any sport in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference history.
“It has been a great run and I have so many great memories, almost too many to even try and count,” Rappl said in a news release from the school. “There are very few professions in life that give you the opportunity to work with young people and travel all across the United States and the world, while being a part of a game.
“I would like to think that I helped people come to school here and I helped them reach their potential as student-athletes. Then to see them go on and reach their potential in the real world – that’s an amazing feeling. To think I was a small part of that growth process is a great honor.
“Doing this becomes a way of life. You work so hard with your head down, and then you look up and it is 35 years later. This has been very rewarding for me,” he added.
Kim Griffin has been named the interim head coach for the 2014-15 season. Griffin has been an assistant to Rappl for the last seven seasons. A permanent successor will be named in the near future.
“Our softball program is one of the premier programs in the MAAC because of the hard word and dedication of Mike Rappl,” Canisius Athletic Director Bill Maher said. “It is hard to truly describe what Mike Rappl has meant to Canisius College, our athletic department and our softball program.
“Mike has been a pillar of success during his time as a coach and administrator here at the college, and a small part of that success is evident in the numerous academic and athletic honors his teams have received over the years.”
Rappl, a Lancaster native who was inducted into the St. Mary’s High School Athletic Hall of Fame, earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Canisius in 1977 and his master’s degree in 1980.
Here are some of Rappl’s career highlights:
• MAAC Coach of the Year seven times, he led the Griffs to 13 regular season championships, 12 tournament titles and 11 NCAA Division I tournament appearances.
• A career record of 330-124 in league play. Sixty-one of his players earned All-MAAC accolades.
• His 831 career wins rank him in the top-25 among active Division I softball coaches and he ranks among the top 60 all-time in the NCAA.
• From 1986-93 he was the women’s head basketball coach for Canisius winning 93 games.
• In 2009 Rappl became the first active coach to be inducted into Canisius Sports Hall of Fame. Also in the Hall of Fame are 15 of his former softball players along with the entire 1994 softball team, which was enshrined with the Class of 2013.
• He was voted into the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame in 2007.