STEVE HANLON: Two of a kind heading into HOF

2013-06-21T18:15:00Z 2013-09-16T18:51:16Z STEVE HANLON: Two of a kind heading into HOFSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
June 21, 2013 6:15 pm  • 

When Keith Hauber was a lad, he spent a lot of time on the softball diamonds with his father, Richard. First, Keith was a bat boy. Then, he kept score at the fields in Michigan City.

And finally, Hauber played slow-pitch softball on his father's team.

So what happened on Friday night at Carmel High School meant a lot to the entire Hauber family. Keith was inducted into the Indiana Softball Hall of Fame along with one of his former players, Katie Mitchell.

On Thursday Keith wasn't sure if his 81-year-old father's health would permit him to make the trip south. But either way, this is a great Americana story of one generation passing a torch on to the next.

"I only coached for 10 years," Keith Hauber said. "I was surprised to get this honor. It means a lot to me and my family. And with Katie going in too, it is special. I wouldn't be going into the Hall of Fame if not for all the great players I had at Lake Central."

The 1973 Michigan City Rogers grad should not be surprised at all by this deserved honor. As an assistant coach he won one softball state title and one girls basketball crown.

After taking over as head coach in 1999, Hauber's record was 272-45. That included the 2002 and '04 state championships and five consecutive trips to Indy, a state record.

Hauber led the Indians to 47 consecutive wins. Just insane. L.C. won 32 games three times under his tenure. Doubly insane.

Now, he is with old friend Tom Megyesi making a great run at turning around the Purdue Calumet women's basketball program.

The quiet yet competitive leader should not be surprised. Current L.C. coach Jeff Sherman isn't. His first year of being an assistant was in 2004.

"Keith is very quiet, very humble," Sherman said. "But he is one of the most competitive guys I've ever met. We had a lot of great talent but he did a great job in making them to be the best they could be.

"And (Mitchell) was the best non-pitcher in the state in a sport dominated by pitchers. It's great they're going in together."

Mitchell graduated from L.C. in 2005 and Purdue in 2009. She earned The Times Player of the Year award in 2004 and 2005. It was the first time the honor went to a position player. Mitchell also won Indiana's Miss Softball in '05. That was only the third time the state's biggest award didn't go to a pitcher.

She holds more records than Elvis and Mitchell's are more golden. Her name is all over the Boilermakers' book for power numbers.

"My mom told me about it two weeks ago," Mitchell said of Julie Adams. "I think she was more excited than me at first. But I'm very happy. Brooke (Baker-Runyon) went in a couple years ago and now me and coach Haub. It's great."

Mitchell holds Purdue's single-season home run mark at 15 and career at 39. She still lives in Lafayette and is teaching the game to her daughters, Abby and Allie.

"I remember my All-Star weekend and the Hall of Fame banquet when I was a player," Mitchell said. "It was a great experience and a lot of fun. I know this means a lot to me and for coach Haub. It's great that we get to go in together."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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