Longtime Bosco softball coach inducted into Coaches Hall of Fame
By Micah Knebel

Jane Becker was playing for the University of Northern Iowa’s softball team when one of her teammates mentioned to her that Don Bosco High School was in need of an assistant coach for their softball team. The national championship collegiate athlete decided to look into the opportunity.

“Well,” Becker recalled, “I came to Gilberville and talked with Dan Mashek who at the time was the head coach and athletic director, and I have never left.”

While in college, Becker served as the assistant coach for the Don Bosco program before taking over as head coach in 1986 after Dan Mashek left the position. Now, thirty-two years later, she has been inducted into the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Coaches’ Hall of Fame.

“We try to honor coaches that have had success over the years and have longevity in the sport,” said Jill Hulsing, IGCA Softball Chair. “Jane exemplifies both of these qualities so we were happy to have her join our Hall of Fame.”
The event was held on July 23 in Waukee during the Senior All Star Games.

“The experience was great,” Becker said about the induction. “I have had the honor to coach many great young ladies through the past years and a community that is very supportive. (I am) thankful for Dan Mashek in giving me the opportunity to coach at Don Bosco.”

Becker, who was originally from Sherrill, Iowa, just north of Dubuque, made Gilbertville her home when she took over as head coach. “Thirty-two years and three kids later, there are so many memories that each year brings is totally awesome,” she said.

One of the memories that really sticks out to her was during her time as an assistant coach. The seven seniors on the team decided they wanted to do something after practice, so they all jumped into the back of one of the player’s pickup trucks. The player said she needed to make a stop at her uncle’s. The seniors and their assistant coach stopped at the uncle’s where he was mowing the grass in the backyard. They went to go visit him. “We were talking and all of the sudden, the seven seniors jump back into the truck and take off, leaving me standing there in front of someone I really didn’t know.” She has a lot of fond memories of the team and the community.

The “lightbulb” moment, she says, when the athletes realize they can do anything if they believe, is another one of her favorite memories. She finds herself giving that advice most often to each of her teams. “Believe in yourself,” she tells them. “You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t underestimate the God-given talent that each and every one of you has. Use it.”

And her advice for new coaches? “Softball should be fun, not a chore or a job. It’s something you have to love. Believe in every single girl that steps on to the field. They are willing to work. So should you.”
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