Montgomery’s Glenn Wins PIAA Softball Coach of the Year Honors | News, Sports, Jobs

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Montgomery’s Chris Glenn (rear) was named PIAA Softball Coach of the Year on Friday. Glenn coached the Red Raiders to the PIAA Class A Championship last year.

Four months after Montgomery Softball won the Class A state championship, the dream season continues.

This time around, the man who has always diverted all credit and/or praise to the players, is the one in the spotlight. From shadow to light, Montgomery’s coach, Chris Glenn, deserved quite an honor.

Glenn was named PIAA Softball Coach of the Year on Friday. Winning a prize like that in any classification is a big deal, but that’s for all six classes. This highlights the fabulous job that Glenn and his coaching staff did in helping the softball team become the first in school history to win a state team championship.

“At every practice; every game, the coach asks us in the huddle: “What can we do better?” He says we can improve every day and then we go out and work in training to keep improving. Faith Persing, Class A Player of the Year, said during the Montgomery State Championship run. “They are a huge asset in our victory and our success.”

It has been that way since Glenn became the program’s coach in 2018. That year, Glenn brought the program to life and guided Montgomery to its first playoff win in seven years. More importantly, he instilled conviction and daring in the program to dream big.

A special group was coming in 2019, with players who excelled at all levels of the youth ladder. Mixing them with the returnees, Glenn and his team set the wheels in motion and Montgomery’s rise to the pinnacle of softball in Pennsylvania was launched.

The Raiders reached their first district final and state tournament, also winning the first of three consecutive Mid-Penn championships, while going 19-5. COVID erased the 2020 season, but Montgomery picked up where he left off in 2021, finishing 23-2, repeating as league champions and winning the program’s second district title. The Raiders reached the state quarterfinals and were probably the second-best team in the state, losing in extra innings to the eventual Tri-Valley champion.

The return of all but one starter from this team created huge expectations for 2022. It was basically a state championship or a bust. It can put pressure on anyone, especially a group of teenagers who balance so many other things as well. So on top of all the strategic moves he made, Glenn keeping his players relaxed and enjoying the moment is another testament to his worth.

Glenn and athletic director Mike Snyder also again created a tough non-conference schedule so Montgomery would be tested come playoff time. And, another hallmark of Glenn’s teams erupted as Montgomery began to peak at the perfect time.

All the pieces started to fall into place after a few early and mid-season bumps in the road. The players powered the bus, but Glenn was the driver and helped them all maximize their abilities, boost their abilities when it mattered most, and be one.

When the margin between winning and losing is so small in June, having a group attacking goal like we can make all the difference. Glenn is a coach, but he’s also proven himself as a master chemist, keeping everyone focused on us and not me. Every player bought, every one delivered and that’s perhaps more than any stat why Montgomery has risen to the top and become the best Class A team in the state.

“They really showed us how important it is to be a team and work together as a team, and that it’s not the individual,” All-state right fielder Jenna Waring said after the Eastern Region championship win over Glendale. “I can’t even count how many times the coach (Glenn) has told us individual stats don’t matter and if that’s the kind of player you are then we’re not going to. I think it’s very important that we play and work as a team.

What a team Montgomery has become. The Raiders finished 22-4, dethroned defending champion Tri-Valley in the States first round and beat seven playoff opponents by a 49-3 margin. Bringing home what made them so good, the Raiders played, arguably their best game ever, in the National Finals. Every starter made it to base, the reserves provided nonstop energy from the dugout and the defense made a series of big plays as Montgomery beat DuBois Central Catholic, 5-1.

“I’m so happy to be a part of bringing it to Montgomery because Montgomery is such a great community,” Glenn said after the win. “I can’t say enough about the community and these girls.”

That’s Glenn right there. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fierce competitor and he wants to win every game. But he also has things in the right perspective and sees the big picture. And it’s always been about other people, not him.

This is one of the main reasons Glenn has been successful at every stage of training. He first transformed Hughesville softball in the late 2000s before helping Jersey Shore win two district championships in his first three years here.

Now Glenn has produced his workout masterpiece. He helped Montgomery achieve an unprecedented string of success. The Raiders are 76-16 during his tenure, winning one state title, two district crowns and three league championships. The 2022 team also became the first in program history to win back-to-back district titles and the first to win state tournament games in back-to-back years, while continuing to build on his already historic streak of state tournament appearances.

His accomplishments also go beyond Montgomery. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the Elm Park Summer League in 2020. This league gave teams in District 4 (as well as Berwick and Bellefonte) a taste of the high school season they missed because these teams were able to play every week at Parc de l’Orme. The creation of this league gave a bit of closure to so many senior softball players while helping young players develop after losing their seasons.

No, Glenn doing that in 2020 didn’t earn him Coach of the Year, but it says a lot about who earned that honor. The victories are great; championships even better, but what really drives Glenn is teaching the game and helping players develop on and off the court.

Put it all together, and it’s a well-deserved honor for an exceptional coach and man. And if he has to give a speech before receiving the Coach of the Year honour, it’s likely to be a long one.

“I coached for many years at three high schools, Little League, summer ball teams and I can’t tell you how much it means to me that all those people I’ve coached before or with or against whom I have coached have reached out and wished us luck,” Glenn said after the state championship win. “My phone is constantly ringing. It’s an overwhelming feeling going through this. I look back on hearing them all and coaching so many teams and so many games. It all brought me here with these girls and I’m so happy for they.

Undoubtedly, this feeling is mutual.

Chris Masse can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @docmasse

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