By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was quite the day at the office on Wednesday for longtime Widener University softball coach Fred Dohrmann.
His team swept a double-header from Neumann University out in Aston. The 8-5 win in the first game made the 57-year-old Dohrmann the winningest coach in Widener history. In any sport, Victory #537 allowed him to pass former men’s basketball coach C. Alan Rowe on the career wins list. Then the 4-0 victory in the nightcap (win #538) came in Dohrmann’s 1,000th game at the helm of the Pride.
“It was really a great last couple of days,” Dohrmann tells KYW Newsradio. “I mean, really fabulous. I’ve really taken some time to really try and soak [it in]. A thousand games is a lot of play.”
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“It’s been a wonderful run,” he adds. “Kids have been great. We’ve played exceedingly well, and we still have a lot of softball left in the season. So we’re anxious to get back out on the field on Saturday.”
The road to today for Dohrmann has been a fascinating one. He arrived on campus in Chester relatively quietly, some 34 years ago.
“I literally answered an ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer in August of ’80 for the assistant men’s soccer coach and got hired as the assistant men’s soccer coach,” Dohrmann says. “Became the assistant wrestling coach. The spring of ’81, [then AD] Bill Manlove said, ‘We need a women’s softball coach.’ I played a lot of baseball and we played 14 games and had some success. In the fall I went back to men’s soccer. That’s how we got started in all this. One thing led to another, led to another. This is essentially season 61 (of coaching) with tennis, wrestling, soccer until 2003 and 33 really good seasons of women’s softball.”
Dohrmann’s career record is 538-462. But aside from the wins and success, Dohrmann has mentored countless players during his career. And when you talk to him, it becomes quite obvious that means more to him than any numbers or win total.
“I’m looking at my office wall, and I have pictures upon pictures of players,” Dohrmann says. “We’ve had a lot of wonderful human beings come through our dugout. Great kids, year in and year out — both academically, socially, athletically. They are an absolute pleasure to be with. It’s really hard for me to get a handle on the number of student athletes that have passed by my way. That’s really the joy of my entire day. Seeing, not only my own student athletes, but all the other student athletes that are here in the gymnasium. I know most of them, and it’s just always fun to see them.”
Dohrmann’s squad is having a lot of success this season: they sit at 21-7 after Wednesday’s sweep. And the coach is showing no signs of slowing down.
“I got another 1,000 in me,” Dohrmann says. “I really like coming to work every day.”
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.