Kelci Thatcher to lead BC softball

Kelci Thatcher will be the next softball coach at Butte Central.

Pointing to Thatcher’s “excellent organizational skill set, youthful enthusiasm and positive energy that will serve her and the softball team incredibly well,” the school announced the hiring Wednesday afternoon.

Thatcher, 23, was a four-year starter for the BC softball team, earning many accolades throughout her career. She was All-Conference and All-State her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

Thatcher will graduate from the University of Montana Western with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in the spring. She’ll also earn a minor in literacy with a special education endorsement.

Thatcher replaces long-time coach Jim Patrick. Thatcher played for Patrick and coached with him for three seasons after graduating from high school.

“He was very successful,” Thatcher said. “I hope I can have half the success that he had.”

Thatcher said her sister, Sarah Stepan, will assist her. She’ll also bring on additional coaches before the team starts practice in March. Stepan was a member of the undefeated state champion BC softball teams of 1999 and 2000.

Kelci Thatcher played for four state tournament teams.

Building the size of the roster is Thatcher’s first order of business. She’ll have a talented, albeit small, group of returning players for the 2013 season.

“I think we’ll be able to compete next year,” Thatcher said. “We’ve got a very talented group of juniors and seniors coming back.”

Thatcher, who coached ASA teams the past three summers, said she’ll work at the elementary level start developing players for the future. She also said the Maroons need to build a strong summer program.

“We’ve got to develop some girls and start rebuilding a program,” she said. “I’m pretty excited about it.”