Wayland softball coach Cheri Ritz has been named National Coach of the Year by one organization and is the finalist for another.

Wayland softball coach Ritz named National Coach of the Year

Jason Wesseldyk

Jan. 18 is a day longtime Wayland softball coach Cheri Ritz will always remember.
Because on it was on that day in 2008 that her father passed away as the result of injuries he sustained in a traffic accident.
Now, Ritz will remember it for another, much more positive reason.
On Monday, Jan. 18, Ritz found out she had been named 2015 National Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“It’s kind of neat how I found out about this award on that day,” said Ritz, who was named her sport’s State Coach of the Year by the Michigan High School Coaches Association last November. “It just seems right.
“My dad always taught me by his example that if you work hard that good things will happen. He worked sunup to sundown on our orchard daily and that’s where I got my work ethic. I saw how hard he worked every day and I know no different. I am so thankful to my dad for instilling that in me.”
In addition to the award from the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association, Ritz has also been named as a finalist by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for National Coach of the Year honors.
The winner of that award will be announced at the NHSACA’s annual banquet in Louisville on June 29. The last time Ritz was in Louisville was to watch her niece, Jessie Merchant, play in an NCAA Super Regional as a member of the University of Michigan softball team.
Her traveling companion for that trip? Her dad.
“I’m really excited to go back to Louisville,” Ritz said. “My dad and I had a great time when we were there. He absolutely loved that trip. I remember laughing a lot and having a great time. Now I’m looking forward to making some more great memories there, whether I win the award or not.”

For full story, pick up a copy of the January 21 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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