Full Swing Ahead

by Staff Jan 22, 2018

Gilroy, CA – With the winter holidays behind us and the start to the spring semester only a week away at Gavilan College, the familiar sights and sounds of softball season have arrived.  At first glance, you would think it’s business as usual for the Rams.  If you look a bit closer, however, you’ll quickly notice that things are a little different down at the yard. After a decade-plus serving as Gavilan’s Head Coach, Nikki Dequin made the decision to step away from the sport after the 2017 season to focus on her new role as the Department Chair for the Department of Kinesiology and Athletics. In addition, Dequin also accepted the position of Academic Senate President at the college, which serves as the faculty prong of the shared governance process.  As a result, the search was on for a replacement. 

Since the position was offered as a part-time coaching position, there became a challenge of finding someone who met the qualifications and who wanted the part-time position. As time progressed, there became a likelihood that a coach may not be found in time for the season. Knowing the importance of softball, both at Gavilan and in the community, the college decided to look internally to put someone in place. Enter Kevin Kramer, an eleven year veteran of Gavilan College and the community college coaching world.  

Over the past eleven seasons, Kramer had served as a full time faculty member and Head Volleyball Coach for the college. Yes, you read that right... volleyball coach. During that time, volleyball has become the winningest program at the college, capturing five Coast Conference Championships and nine consecutive trips to the CCCAA Playoffs. 

So why, you may ask, would Kramer be the choice for a position so far away from the hardwood?  In fact, there are a couple reasons. The first being the positive rapport he has had with the student-athletes on campus. Due to the late hire, the normal recruiting timeline had been cut down to two months instead of the normal year that most coaches have to recruit. With most recruitable student-athletes already attending other colleges, potential athletes had to be found on Gavilan’s campus and from within the community.  Kramer’s connection to current and past student-athletes served as an import piece to identifying potential players.  

With the help of second year Assistant Coach Paige Miguel and first year Assistant Coaches Bobby Reggiani and Mari Rodriguez, Kramer and his staff have not only found those student-athletes, but are excited about the level of experience and knowledge the players possess. “We have an amazing mixture of returners and new players in the program this year that this staff has put together,” says Kramer. “Paige, Bobby and Mari have been huge in helping us put this roster together.” While the roster was not available at the time this article was written, Kramer said there would be a release of the 2018 roster early next week. 

The second reason that Kramer was given this opportunity was because of the Assistant Coaches that agreed to jump on board. “This group of Assistant Coaches may be the best assistant coaching staff in the conference,” according to Gavilan Dean and Athletic Director, Ron Hannon.  “They bring an amazing knowledge of the sport of softball in addition to an understanding of the importance of softball at this college and within this community.” Hannon was in part referring to the role that Miguel and Rodriguez have already played in the softball program at Gavilan. As former student-athletes for the Rams, the two were an integral part of the program’s last Coast Conference Championship that took place in 2014. After their time at Gavilan, both moved on to compete at the four year level. Now they are back, ready to help this program move forward once again.

Reggiani also has a long history with the college. After playing for the Gavilan baseball program out of high school, he finished his playing career at Sonoma State University. He eventually made his way back to Gavilan, serving as an assistant coach for the baseball program for nine years. Over the past seven seasons, he has been the head coach for the Buzz, a local youth fast-pitch softball program.

“While I feel I have a great grasp of the sport, I’m leaning heavily on the knowledge and experience of this staff,” admits Kramer. Continuing, “I’m just thrilled to be a part of this opportunity with an amazing group of players and coaches.”  That experience will officially get started next Friday, January 26th, as the Rams will travel to Reedley College for an opening day double header.