It’s been a busy summer for Central Christian College President Hal Hoxie and Chief Student Affairs Officer Chris Smith as they have filled three personnel holes in the athletic department.
The three open positions included head softball coach, head athletic trainer and Director of Athletics.
After about a month-long search for a new softball coach, Smith settled on Mark Ritchhart from Orlando, Fla.
He spent the past 15 years coaching high school girls softball at Pine Crest Christian High School in Orlando, where his teams played in the state championship game five times in the last nine years and three out of the last five. He has won multiple Coach of the Year awards in Orlando.
"Mark is wise and humble,” Smith said. "I desperately wanted to hire someone who could provide long-term stability to a softball program that has had five coaches in nine seasons. I believe that the college owes it to these girls to have a coach who invests in the program but also, and most importantly, in the journey with Christ. I think Mark is a tremendous find for CCC with a unique blend of softball knowledge and Godly wisdom."
Ritchhart and his wife, Renee, have two daughters. Their oldest daughter, Leah, has finished her college eligibility and will serve as a student assistant for her father. Their youngest daughter, Lyssa, has a couple years of eligibility remaining and is transferring from William Penn University in Iowa to play for her father.
Maggie Burnette has been hired as head athletic trainer. She is a graduate of Sterling College and last year served as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for the Tigers. She built a strong rapport with both the CCC coaches and student athletes over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, and her familiarity with CCC athletics will help to further the development of the athletic training department.
"We are thrilled to welcome Maggie to the CCC team,” Smith said. "She brings a presence and a flexibility to work with others that was very much appreciated by the coaches and campus staff as a graduate assistant. Now as our head athletic trainer, her professionalism and expertise in athletic training will be a welcome addition to our already strong department."
Maggie and her husband, Kyle, have three children — Maycee, Peyton, and Kasyn.
Steve "Twiggs" Reed has been named Athletic Director at CCC. He comes to Central after spending the last 30 years on staff with Young Life, serving as a Regional Director in Southern California and Southeast Asia. While working with Young Life, Reed also found time to coach cross country and track at various high schools in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest.
He coached 28 NCAA Division I athletes in 25 years, two individual state champions and two state championship teams. Three of the cross country runners he coached went on to qualify for the Olympic trials. From 2006-2008, Reed was honored with an invite to work with the United States Olympic team.
"Twiggs has the leadership and experience to help CCC rise to the next level,” Hoxie said. “Twiggs arrived on campus Aug. 10 to begin his duties. He has been charged with continuing to make CCC athletics competitive and relevant in the NAIA and NCCAA. One pressing task that will take center stage on his agenda will be to help CCC find a conference home for the 2016-2017 season.”