Bob Sulser, longtime high school head coach at Madison Memorial and Beloit Turner has landed a new gig as Head Coach at Madison Edgewood.
Sulser, a WFSCA Hall of Fame member with 445 wins in his career takes over a Crusader program that is not looking to be rebuilt but rather had been begging to simply "be built."
Sulser has proven in both of his gigs as a head coach that he knows what needs to be done to take a moribund program and turn it into a state title contender. At Madison Memorial the Spartans won the Big 8 title and advanced to the state tournament and finished as runner-up. At Beloit Turner, Sulser took a program from the bottom to the top with trips to the state tournament in Division 3 and in Division 2. Four hundred and forty five wins is a great accomplishment.
Bob started his coaching career in 1982 at Memorial and remained there through the 1999 season. In 2000 he assisted HOF member John Schroeder at Beloit Memorial and took the reins of the Turner program in 2001 and remained through last season when the administration there chose to let him go.
Now Bob has a monumental challenge in front of him. Last year the Crusaders didn't have enough participants to field a junior varsity team and pitching is an area that really concerns the longtime coach.
"It's a challenge," said Sulser. "However, I've been successful at getting more participants to give softball a shot at Edgwood. We can coach them up once we have them at practice. I want to get enough players to field two teams this spring."
He will welcome nine returning players on March 13th and eight of them are seniors so recruiting younger player is paramount for 2018 and beyond. Now he is looking to find a qualified junior varsity coach.
One road block in this his first year at Edgewood is the fact that the spring break there is the week of April 10-14. That's fifth week of the season. "To have to take a week off near the middle of the season is not a great thing but it is what is is," the new head coach said.
Bob has been doing a bit of substitute teaching at Edgewood which has enabled him to approach and meet prospective athletes. "There are athletes here, ther eis no doubt ab out that" he added. "Softball doesn't have to be their number one sport. We just need to get them out on the field and teach them the game. Good athletes make good softball players."
The Crusaders play their home games at Old Franklin Field off Olan Avenue near the Dane County Colesium which is now Goodman Field (not to be confused with Goodman Diamond where the state tournament is held). "They don't even have a team bench at that field so I promised the kids that will change and it has as I have managed to get some donations so the kids can feel like a team instead a part of the spectating crowd while sharing a bleacher with those real spectators.
The rest of the Badger South Conference will be forced to take notice of Edgewood. Sulser's resume and past success are great indicators of where the Crusaders are apt to be soon. After all, anybody who knows anything about fastpitch softball knows that all it takes to be competitive is one dynamic kid in the pitcher's circle and on the pitcher's plate. Sulser has a long history of producing at least one of those each season.
Edgewood's long wait is over -- things have already taken a positive turn.