Hempfield’s Bob Kalp named FloSoftball national coach of the year

Thursday, July 5, 2018 | 9:54 PM

Veteran coach Bob Kalp has been guiding Hempfield softball for more than two decades. He turned the program into a perennial power.

His exploits and successes are known throughout the WPIAL and state, but he suddenly finds himself in the national spotlight after another trophy-raising season with the Spartans.

Kalp on Thursday was named the FloSoftball Coach of the Year .

Flo is a national organization that operates out of Austin, Texas. Flo, along the lines of MaxPreps or TopDrawer, offers rankings, profiles of teams and players, showcases and other features.

Hempfield (24-3) was expected to dip some after losing a bevy of talent to graduation. But the Spartans instead kept the bar raised and did so in dramatic fashion in the postseason, winning four one-run games, including three in extra innings, on the way to a fourth straight WPIAL title and a PIAA three-peat in the state’s largest classification.

Hempfield edged past Latrobe in 10 innings, 2-1, to win the WPIAL championship. It topped Parkland, 4-3, in eight innings for state glory — the Spartans became the first PIAA team to win three straight softball titles.

Again. Hempfield did it again.

And Kalp still was the ringleader, with his scrupulous attention to detail, unrelenting preparation and do-it-until-you-get-it-right mentality.

Former star pitcher Morgan Ryan tweeted, “BEST coach in the world. I will never forget the 4 years that I got to spend having him as my coach! A true legend.”

The retired chemistry teacher made it work with a different mix of elements and reached 400 career wins in the process.

Kalp, 72, is now 401-98-1 in 22 seasons in charge.

He has been a part of 15 section titles, six WPIAL titles and three state crowns.

He hinted at retirement before this season but only ended up flirting with the idea, knowing he and his nine assistant coaches had another potential contender on their hands, one that just needed some reps and encouragement.

One would think his whereabouts for next season might carry the same question marks, especially with Hempfield expected to take another graduation hit.

But wait, Kalp has stared down that challenge before and came away with two more championships. Who’s to say he won’t try to do it again?

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @BillBeckner.


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