Former St. Anthony softball coach Crystal Tipton made things official Tuesday night at the Teutopolis Unit #50 school board meeting, officially becoming the head coach of the Lady Shoes going forward.
"Rich [Niebrugge] retired and then a position opened at the school," Tipton said. "It was a great opportunity for me and my family. My husband is from here and his family grew up in T-town and we live here. Our kids will have the opportunity to go to school in the town we live in. I've got some big shoes to fill and I look forward to carrying on the successes of Wooden Shoes softball.
"People were really good about it here. They cracked jokes every now and then about crossing the creek. But it's nice now that we can be welcomes by the community that we live in and truly become a part of it and immerse ourselves in it."
Tipton is coming off a 19-9-1 2019 campaign, helping lead the Bulldogs to a regional championship.
While Tipton will no longer be competing for a conference championship at Teutopolis, she plans to focus on some of the smaller tournaments to help keep the team driven throughout the year.
"It's such a great program and I'm excited to take over," Tipton said. "Of course there's a level of wanting to be successful. [We] have tournaments and smaller goals we need to attain first before we can start thinking about the bigger picture.
"There are some great 2A teams out there and I know it will be a level up and I have to get these girls ready."
The Lady Shoes went 14-11 in 2019, but managed to put together a solid postseason run, winning a regional championship before being eliminated in the sectional championship.
For her career as coach of the Bulldogs, Tipton accumulated a 207-57 record with a .784 win percentage over 11 seasons with the program.
"It's obviously going to be different," Tipton said. "Different teams and different families. Parents and the community of St. Anthony have been very supportive of me throughout the years. I have a lot of connections with them.
"I'm going to miss them and I'm going to miss the current players I'm not going to get to coach this year. But we thought this decision was best for us and that's the decision we had to make."