Butte natives key Dawson success

It’s been three years since Jim LeProwse left the Mining City to become the head coach of the Dawson Community College softball team in Glendive.

To call that move a success, would be a major understatement.

LeProwse’s Buccaneers won the Mon-Dak Conference title for the second straight year this season. Dawson also won the Region IX title and advanced to the Super Regional in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the Buccaneers went 1-2, losing twice to hometown Kirkwood Community College.

“We could have played them 100 times and never beat them. They’re that good,” LeProwse says. “They beat Iowa and Wisconsin this year. They’re that good.”

LeProwse, 46, won the Mon-Dak Coach of the Year Award for the second straight year. This year he was also named Region IX Coach of the Year.

One of the keys to LeProwse’s success this season was a fellow Butte native. Maria Robinson played outfield for the Buccaneers.

“She was a stud for us,” LeProwse says. “She was a great outfielder.”

The Buccaneers went 26-14 on the season in 2013. They only lost two games to fellow junior college teams.

Robinson’s sister, Julia, also played at Dawson.

“I had Julia last year and the year before,” LeProwse said. “She came up when I did.”

Dawson went 26-19 overall and won the Mon-Dak title in 2012. The team was robbed of the league title because Dawson lost a game and a tie-breaker because of a rain-out.

The 2012 Buccaneer softball team also won the Sheila R. Worley Sportsmanship Award.

LeProwse doesn’t get too caught up in the Coach of the Year Awards, though he says they’re nice to have.

“I don’t care about that stuff, but it definitely helps in recruiting,” said.

The coach pointed out that he just singed a star from the Columbia junior national team.

“The school upped our scholarships, so I’m going to have 24 players in the fall,” he says.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed the success LeProwse, who also teaches welding at Dawson, and his program.

“It’s the first (Division II) region championship they ever saw,” LeProwse said. “They actually never won a Region IX title in any sport.”

The team might have been even more successful if he didn’t lose one of its prospective starters during the winter. LeProwse’s daughter, Jessie, played during fall ball in 2012. She didn’t play this spring because she’s expecting her second baby in the summer.

“She would have started at second for me,” LeProwse says.

Maria Robinson won’t be back with the Buccaneers next season, even though she has a year of eligibility remaining. She had two years of college under her belt before attending the junior college.

“Academically it doesn’t make sense for her to stay here,” LeProwse says.

LeProwse coached a club team at Montana Tech for two seasons before¬† heading to Glendive. He also coached the Butte Muckers American Legion team for five seasons. He’s currently an assistant coach on the Legion team in Glendive. Last year he was the head coach.

LeProwse says he wouldn’t mind staying in Glendive for years to come. However, he’s also aware that he might have opportunity to advance in the profession as well.

The University of Montana is planning to start a softball program. The Grizzlies could hire their first coach as early as this summer.

With his success in Glendive, LeProwse has to at least pique the interest of the University of Montana brass.

“I like it here,” LeProwse says. “I might throw my name in the hat for the Griz job and see what happens. “