Over the past 15 years, for those who have been around the sports facilities of the City of Titusville and the Titusville Area School District, there’s a good chance they have seen Jim Becker coaching Titusville softball players in either a practice or game setting.
On Tuesday, Becker’s resignation from his post as the Titusville Rockets head softball coach became official. The coach and father figure to many believes that “everything runs its course” and cited the time commitment from his recent hiring as the Executive Director of the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County as a main factor into his decision.
“The work over [in Meadville] is pretty busy, day-to-day,” Becker said. “I thought I was going to be able to handle the scheduling a little better than I was able to [this season]. Megan Green, Greg Houck and Mark Sawatsky really stepped up and helped me out a lot. I didn’t ride the bus once this year. I went straight from Meadville to wherever we were playing and met the team there. Also, I have twin grandsons that are now 7 years old. Getting back into town in the evenings in time to watch them do their activities also was a factor.”
Becker compiled an 183-85 record in 15 seasons at the helm, and led the Rockets to seven Region/Co-Region Championships, two District 10 Championship Game appearances, and the 2017 District 10 Class 3A Title
Even with all of the accolades to his name, Becker emphasized that it was the players, parents, and support from the school district and community that made all of that success possible.
“I truly appreciate the support that I got,” Becker said. “We’ve had a pretty good run. Truly, the support from the school district, kids and parents makes it a lot easier to spend the time, especially in the offseason, to make the team better. We’ve had a lot of great kids and great families that we have been able to work with over the years. I didn’t come to this decision lightly.”
After the news of Becker’s resignation broke on social media, the support from his former players began to pour in. Tweets such as “My heart hurts and I’ve known for a month,” and “Jim Becker was more than just a coach, he was a motivator, an inspiration, and most, importantly, another father figure. He has helped me overcome so many things in life and I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for him,” were posted in reaction to Becker’s resignation.
“For those kids that it meant that much for, that brings it all home a little bit,” Becker said in reaction to the comments. “It was equally as fun and equally meant that much to me. It’s absolutely been a blast. When you’re able to see the kids who don’t get it in the beginning and all of a sudden the lightbulb goes off in the middle of the season, when they finally get something that they’ve been working at and trying to figure out, that’s the fun stuff. When you work with kids through injuries and everything else you’re able to get to know them a little bit more than just between the lines on the diamond. For those kids that we’ve made a little bit of a difference in softball and outside of softball, it makes it all worth while.”
Along with his students expressing fond words and memories, Titusville Athletic Director Scott Salvo also told The Herald of his gratitude for Becker’s commitment to the Rockets.
“I wish I didn’t have to, but it’s the nature of high school athletics,” Salvo said. “Jim was more than just a coach to the many girls he had as players. He was a mentor, father figure and friend. He got the most out of players, not by screaming and yelling, but by only accepting their best. [He was] very passionate about doing the right thing and getting the girls on the field. When dealing with spring weather in northwest Pennsylvania, he’d always say ‘Find us a team and a place, and we’ll play them. It doesn’t matter who or where. We just want to play.’ I wish him the best.”
Briefly looking back at his 15 seasons, Becker listed the 2017 District 10 Class 3A Championship and coaching his daughter from 2004-2006 as a couple of his fondest memories during his tenure.
“I’ve been very fortunate,” Becker said. “Jim Come took a chance on me when he was the athletic director by letting me jump in there and take over the program. I’ve had tremendous support at the school district from the superintendent on down. The school board, Athletic Director Scott Salvo, even the maintenance guys have been just fantastic. I have zero complaints and zero regrets other that I wish I could continue because I still do enjoy it.”
When asked if there was any chance that Becker would return to the third base coaching box, he replied “I never say never.” However, Becker then added that he is “definitely taking a serious break.”
“I have [grandchildren] coming up through, so I don’t know that I would take a head coaching position because of the commitment that is needed,” Becker said. “Mostly, I’ll miss the kids. When you have kids show up at your house that played for you 10 years ago to have you meet their boyfriend or meet their new baby girl, it’s kind of cool. I’ve been very fortunate. My family has been very supportive for me to continue to do this long after my son and daughter had both graduated.”