The Man, The Myth, The Mr. Neefe

The Man, The Myth, The Mr. Neefe

My high school softball coach has coached for 46 seasons, has played over 1,000 games, and has won over 600 league games.


Mr. Brian Neefe has been the Southern Lehigh Varsity softball coach for 46 seasons, since 1972, which is possibly the longest a coach has coached for the same team in the entirety of Pennsylvania. And he's still coaching. I played on this team, under his leadership, from 2014-2018, and I had the pleasure of playing in his 1000th game, and again for his 600th league win.

Before Southern Lehigh, Mr. Neefe was a football coach at Grove City College and came to Southern Lehigh as a teacher. The athletic director at the time asked him if he wanted to coach girls' softball, since he had prior coaching at the time, and he said, "When you're in your first year of teaching, you say 'yes' to anything."

At the time, Title IX had recently been enacted, granting female athletics equal funding as male. Even with the new law, girls might not have taken athletics that seriously, but Mr. Neefe did. He wanted to use softball to not only compete and enjoy the sport but also to teach young girls lessons that they could take with them for the rest of their lives. And that is indeed true, considering that 40+ alumni came to support Neefe at his 1000th game, as well as the 20 girls currently on the team.

Throughout my four years on that team, I learned the value of hard work, teamwork, leadership, how to overcome adversity, and much more. Nobody outworked our team, we would practice every day after school, for never less three hours. After games, we would practice, on weekends we would practice, we would always be practicing. And the reason we would practice so much is that no one wanted to lose, it was important to us. Scratch that, we didn't want to get beaten.

One of the lessons he taught me was if you "lose", the other team was simply better than you, but if you are "beaten", this means that you had potential to win the game, you just didn't get the job done. And that's worse than "losing." You always have the potential to win and be successful in life, through hard work and dedication.

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