Hibner named girls softball coach

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Perry Hibner (far left) was named Middleton's girls softball coach Thursday. Hibner is shown with (from left) former MHS head coach Cherie Hellenbrand, MHS assistant Amy Siedschlag and former assistant Dudley Hellenbrand/Photo submitted

Perry Hibner was sitting in a large conference room in Stevens Point Thursday morning when he got the call he had been hoping for.

Bob Joers was on the other line, and Middleton’s athletic director had some good news.

Hibner, an assistant coach inside Middleton’s girls softball program, was being bumped up to the head coaching position. And Hibner could hardly contain himself.

“I let out a huge scream,” Hibner said. “Not really, but I felt like doing it.”

It’s easy to see why.

Middleton was one of the state’s premier softball programs for years under the guidance of the late Russ Shaub. The Cardinals are trending upward again thanks to the recent leadership of Cherie Hellenbrand.

But Hellenbrand stepped down this fall when the task of balancing coaching and family became too great.

Hibner, who is also the Communications Director-Education Foundation Executive Director for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, immediately knew he wanted the job. And after Superintendent Don Johnson signed off, Hibner threw his hat in the ring.

Hibner interviewed for the job on Oct. 27 and was hired Thursday. He’ll now inherit a group that won the Big Eight Conference last spring.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity,” Hibner said. “Cherie has small feet, but big shoes to fill.”

Although Hibner was a varsity assistant just one season, he has deep roots with many of the girls in the program.

Hibner coached U-10 through U-16 programs in the community, and had many of the current Cardinals on his youth teams. Moving forward, that continuity should be a plus.

“I’ve coached almost all of these girls, which is nice,” Hibner said. “It’s a great bunch of girls and I thought that continuity was important.

“A lot of these girls have known me from youth softball through last year. I’m hoping that’s a real positive.”

Positive is a perfect word to also describe Hibner.

He’s upbeat, encouraging, optimistic and downright cheery. He’ll use that approach in trying to continue moving the program forward.

“The fact is No. 1, this is a great group of girls to work with,” said Hibner, who has also coached boys and girls varsity golf teams in the area. “Last year, they came to practice, worked hard and made our jobs a lot easier.

“Cherie’s got the program on the right track. We’re good, but we’re not there yet. We need to keep getting better.”


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