For Dave Carpenter, not much beat game days.
The warmups. The anticipation in the hours and minutes leading up to games. The games themselves.
"I will miss that," he says.
After 12 seasons, Carpenter is stepping down as Norris' softball coach to spend more time with family. It wasn't an easy decision, he said, and last week's meeting to tell the players "was pretty difficult."
But the decision to step away was slowing getting there.
"My immediate family has expanded significantly and all of my kids are married and have kids, so I'm up to eight grandchildren now," Carpenter said. "The demands of coaching, although I certainly enjoyed it, were getting to be a little bit too much for the family responsibilities, so I didn't want to miss anything and I wanted to keep my priorities in order."
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Carpenter, who took over for Greg Hardin in 2007, compiled 232 wins and led the Titans to four state tournaments and three district championships. His final season included a trip to the state tournament in Hastings.
Carpenter said he will cherish the relationships he built during his time at Norris, which included a stint as Hardin's volunteer coach.
"I thought I had a really special opportunity there," he said. "It's a great school and the people I worked with, starting with the players, I was blessed with some really good players and with some quality people. It was fun to work with them.
"You try to have a positive influence on people that you're around, and the administration and the people at Norris that I worked with were exceptional. And my assistant coaches (Gene Busboom and Bob Shanahan), I'll always have a special thanks to them."
Some other softball coaching notes:
* Brittany Hansen stepped down as Lincoln North Star's head coach after four seasons. Hansen, a former Navigator player, stepped back during the 2018 season to focus on raising her young son before taking over head coaching duties again in 2019. North Star has made the state tournament the past three seasons.
* K.C. Hehnke announced his retirement after 11 seasons as Grand Island's head coach. Hehnke led the Islanders to six state tournament appearances.
* Ryan Glatter has been named the head coach at Yutan/Mead. Glatter, who serves as a hitting coach at College of Saint Mary, also has coached club ball. His daughter Peyton is a sophomore in the Husker softball program.
Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.