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Making a painless transition


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Robyn Coffer, who has been the athletic trainer at Columbus North the past three years, has been named the school's softball coach. Greg Jones, for The Republic.
Robyn Coffer, who has been the athletic trainer at Columbus North the past three years, has been named the school's softball coach. Greg Jones, for The Republic.

Robyn Coffer, who has been the athletic trainer at Columbus North the past three years, has been named the school's softball coach. She stands in front of North's new softball field July 23. Greg Jones, for The Republic.
Robyn Coffer, who has been the athletic trainer at Columbus North the past three years, has been named the school's softball coach. She stands in front of North's new softball field July 23. Greg Jones, for The Republic.


Robyn Coffer has spent the past three years taping ankles, icing knees and wrapping shoulders at Columbus North’s athletic trainer.

Now, she has added a big undertaking to her already busy schedule. She has been hired as the Bull Dogs’ head softball coach.

“It will be different as far as balancing my schedule,” Coffer said. “Going to games and practices are already part of my routine, so focusing on one team at a time will be a change.”

Coffer, 26, will retain her duties as a certified athletic trainer, covering all sports at North. Athletics director Jeff Hester worked out a schedule with her and Steve Souder, the school’s other athletic trainer.

“We have it worked out where there won’t be any conflicts with that,” Hester said. “It helps having Steve Souder, as well. Since baseball and softball are going to be at the same location, that will be convenient for Robyn.”

The softball team is moving into a new complex next to the baseball fields at Southside Elementary School.

A three-time All-City pitcher at Heritage Christian and an All-Mid-Central Conference player at Indiana Wesleyan, Coffer is no stranger to the softball diamond. She played pitcher, center field, shortstop and second base during her time at Indiana Wesleyan, where she was an Academic All-Conference selection.

“I’ve got to see a lot of players and a lot of softball,” said Coffer, who began playing at age 5. “It’s been a big part of my life and my growing-up experience.”

Hester coached Coffer in junior varsity basketball at Heritage Christian and was the school’s AD when she won the Eagles’ Female Athlete of the Year honor as a senior.

“I’ve known Robyn and her family for 10 or 15 years,” Hester said. “I always knew that she would make an excellent coach. As an athlete, she was extremely coachable.”

Three years ago, Hester hired Coffer as a trainer. Columbus Regional Hospital took over the trainers’ contracts beginning last year.

Coffer replaces Jerry Burton, who retired after five seasons with the Bull Dogs and 23 years overall at Columbus East, Jennings County and North.

“I was sad to see Jerry go,” Hester said. “When he said he was going to retire, Robyn was the first person that came to mind. Robyn shares my philosophy and knows the athletes at Columbus North, and I think it will be a pretty seamless transition.”

While in college, Coffer helped out with the Heritage Christian program during the summers. She gave individual pitching lessons, mostly in Indianapolis, her first couple years out of college.

“It was something that I’ve always kind of wanted to do as far as mentor girls,” Coffer said. “When (the North) position became open, Jeff did mention it to me; and at that point, the wheels began to turn, and we worked out a schedule.

“If you were an OK player, you want to try to help someone else through coaching,” she said. “It’s kind of a ministry outreach, as well.”

The Bull Dogs return six starters from a team that went 17-11 and finished as runner-up in Conference Indiana and the North Sectional.

“I’m excited to see what they have to offer and see what I can do for them,” Coffer said. “The opportunities are incredible. It’s almost overwhelming but also very exciting.”

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