GAYLORD — No pressure.
Ron Moeggenberg was hired Friday as the new Gaylord softball head coach, taking over a program coming off a Division 2 state title and returning much of that championship team.
“The expectations are high, and with that comes some pressure,” Gaylord Athletic Director Christian Wilson said. “But the girls have dealt with that their whole careers.”
The Blue Devils lost third baseman and Ferris State-commit Alexis Kozlowski and pitcher/first baseman Abby Radulski from last year’s championship squad that won the D2 title despite missing Virginia Tech-commit Jayden Jones due to injury.
“It is (a lot of pressure), but if anybody can do it, it’s this team,” Moeggenberg said. “We’re pretty senior-led. The goals for this team are quite apparent. They are the same as last year.”
Gaylord returns Jayden Jones, junior Oklahoma State-commit Aubrey Jones, senior pitcher/infielder Avery Paker (Northwood for basketball), senior catcher Taylor Moeggenberg (Cornerstone University), senior center fielder Braleigh Miller (Ferris State), senior second baseman Alexis Shepherd (Toledo), senior outfielder Addison Wangler (Ferris State), junior first baseman/outfielder Kennedy Wangler (Ferris State) and senior outfielder Hali Lenartowicz from last year’s starting lineup.
Gaylord went 39-2 in the 2023 season and beat Vicksburg, 8-3, to give the school its first state championship in any sport since 2007.
Moeggenberg said he’ll enlist Greg Jones as an assistant coach, and he has an eye on others for the second assistant spot.
“I’m just blessed,” Moeggenberg said. “Most coaches would love to inherit a team like this. Coaching my daughter, what dad doesn’t want to do that?”
Tony Vaden stepped down after last year’s title run in his first season as head coach. Wilson said Vaden, who previously was the Blue Devils’ JV coach, resigned to be able to devote more time to his business and family.
Moeggenberg previously coached Gaylord St. Mary’s junior varsity boys basketball team for two years and is the head coach of the Traverse City-based 231 Fusion summer travel team for which several Blue Devils play.
“He’s got an understanding of the success that’s taken place with this group of girls,” Wilson said. “He has a background and knowledge base that will help them get to their potential. He truly loves every one of those girls.”
GAYLORD — No pressure.