Courtney Calkins named new Osseo softball coach

Courtney Calkins, a 2015 Osseo graduate, will take the reins as the new softball coach for the Orioles. (Photo courtesy of Osseo Athletics)

Courtney Calkins was announced as the new Osseo fastpitch softball coach Nov. 3. Calkins, a 2015 graduate of Osseo Senior High, played softball for the Orioles and then went on to compete collegiately at Iowa Lakes Community College and Tennessee Wesleyan.

She was formerly a graduate assistant coach at Iowa Lakes.

Calkins first heard about an opening for the Osseo softball coach when she was driving to her sister’s. Her sister called Calkins and said longtime coach Eric Ruska was leaving, which Calkins wasn’t aware of.

She told Calkins to apply for the role, to which Calkins replied, “I don’t know.” Twenty minutes after she got off the phone with her sister, Osseo activities coordinator Bill Quan called Calkins, gaging her interest in the coaching role. She told Quan she would think about it, and after talking with Ruska and others, she eventually decided she would interview for the role. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Calkins said.

When she came to the high school for the interview, she remembered being a student in the same school just five years earlier, socializing with friends in the same hallways, and taking math classes in the same rooms. After the interview, Calkins waited. Then, she finally heard back. She had gotten the gig.

As an Oriole, Calkins was a four-year starter and letter-winner at pitcher and shortstop and was named to the Northwest Suburban All-Conference team four consecutive years. Calkins was also named Ms. Oriole, nominated for athlete of the year, and awarded the Clutch Hitter award three times. To end her career, Calkins posted a 28-24 record with a 1.90 ERA and 359 strikeouts, while allowing 312 hits. She also excelled offensively, batting .324 with 66 hits, 14 doubles, and five home runs.

Now, her journey in the Osseo softball program has come full circle. From athlete to coach, Calkins is ready to help usher in a new chapter in the story of the team. “[Eric] Ruska built such a good program here, and you never think somebody like that will leave,” Calkins said of her former coach. “I only want to build the team up from that. Hopefully the girls will buy into what I’m doing. I think we are really competitive right now, and in the next three to five years, I want to be in those section title games with a chance to go to state. But it takes a village to get there.”

With her friends and family still a stone’s throw away from Osseo, Calkins is living a reality she never thought would come to fruition: coaching her alma mater. “It is very surreal,” she said. “It is kind of like a dream.”

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