New Softball Coach Rychcik Inducted Into ISC Hall of Fame
Aug. 10, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – New NC State softball coach Shawn Rychcik will take a short break from his hectic transition of taking over the Wolfpack program to celebrate the highlight of his professional playing career – being inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame.
“It’s been a real whirlwind for the last month,” Rychcik said, just a few days after moving his family from Boston to his new home in the Triangle. “So this will be a nice break and the culmination of 25 years of playing softball.”
The ceremony will be held Sunday in Midland, Mich., where Rychcik was once an All-World player for the Midland Explorers.
“This is something I have been looking forward to,” Rychcik said from his new office in the basement of Reynolds Coliseum. “All my peers will be there, so it will be a real honor.
“It will also be a much-needed deep breath for me. For a few hours it will let me forget about all the things I need to get done here and reflect on those things that I accomplished as a player.
Rychcik picked up the fast-pitch game from his father, on the playing fields of Salamanca, N.Y. For four years, he played in local leagues and on traveling teams all over the East Coast and Canada.
He eventually spent nearly a quarter century playing for some of the nation’s top men’s fast-pitch teams and with some of the sport’s greatest players. A versatile player, Rychcik played first base and outfield. He hit in both the lead-off spot and the three-spot.
“I like to think I was a clutch player,” Rychcik said. “When the game was on the line, I wanted to have the bat in my hand so I could have a big impact on the outcome of the game.”
He played in his first ISC tournament in 1989 in Kimberly, Wisc., for the New Martinsville (W.Va.) softball team. He led his team to four wins, co-led the tournament in RBIs and was named for the first time in his career to the All-World team.
He won that honor nine more times during his successful career, playing for the legendary Planggers in Ashland, Ohio, and the Midland (Mich.) Explorers. He took his talents to an international audience in 1994 when he played in New Zealand.
He returned to the U.S. in time to lead the All-Car Roadrunners to the 1994 ISC Championship, driving in the tying run with a two-out triple and scoring the winning run two batters later to give his team its first world title.
His team finished second and third in the same tournament in 1996 and ’97, respectively, and won the ASA national championship in 1997.
Rychcik won his second ISC title in 1998 while playing for the Tampa Bay Smokers and his second ASA title in 1999 with the Decatur (Ill.) Pride.
Rychcik was the 1999 most valuable player at the ASA championship tournament, after setting a record with 15 RBI in five games.
The Pride repeated in 2000 for Rychcik’s third ISC title.
Rychcik played his final five years in Wisconsin, winning two more world championships while with the County Materials Team and earning three more all-world honors. His 2006 team finished 47-3 overall, won seven tournament titles and is considered one of the greatest men’s fast-pitch teams in history.
Rychcik ended his playing career after 23 years following the 2006 season, to concentrate on his budding collegiate coaching years. After eight year and three conference titles at Boston University, he was hired to take over the Wolfpack program in July.
It’s been a hectic first month on the job, as Rychcik hired his first assistant, Katie Grimes, hit the road recruiting and moved his family (wife Tricia and sons Ajay and Drew) to Apex, N.C., from North Andover, Mass.
After this weekend, though, Rychcik plans on getting back to the grindstone, working to return the Wolfpack to the top of the ACC. There’s a huge difference between playing and coaching the game, just as there is a huge difference between coaching in the America East Conference and the ACC.
Rychcik is ready for the challenge.
“The opportunities here far out-weight the challenges,” he said. “I look forward to being in a great conference, playing in a great stadium, being at a bigger program.
“We have some work to do, but what I like so far is that all our players have been very accepting of what we plan on doing in changing the culture so that we have the opportunity to win games.”