OSKALOOSA — The winningest coach in program history, William Penn Head Softball Coach Mike Christner has announced that the 2023 season will be his last as he will retire at the end of the campaign.
“I have enjoyed my time at William Penn and want to thank Mike Laird for having the confidence in me 22 years ago to take on the softball program here,” Christner said. “It is now time to move on to different adventures. I look forward to enjoying following my grandkids’ activities.”
Christner, who is in his 22nd season at William Penn, currently owns a career record of 679-483 (.584). He ranks in the top 20 in wins among active NAIA coaches. Christner has guided the Statesmen to four NAIA National Championship appearances, seven Midwest Collegiate Conference regular-season titles, and four MCC Tournament crowns. The Statesmen also appeared in seven consecutive NAIA Region VII Tournaments from 2002-2008.
A six-time Conference Coach of the Year and two-time NAIA Region VII Coach of the Year, Christner guided WPU to a program-best 51-22 record in 2005. He was named Region VII Coach of Character in 2007 as well. Christner has coached 94 all-conference players, 45 NFCA all-region performers, 20 NAIA all-region players, and 19 All-Americans.
“Coach Christner has led William Penn Softball in an era that rewrote the record books for the program,” William Penn Athletics Director Nik Rule said. “He has built a strong foundation that led us to be a player on the national scene. We look forward to celebrating his last season and we wish him well in his retirement. He will always be a Statesmen.”
“We appreciate his commitment to William Penn; he has been a consistent voice in our athletic department, serving in an administrative role through a number of different administrations in athletics,” Rule added. “He has paid special attention to transportation and field maintenance over the years, and has always been good at wearing several different hats to benefit the department.”
A search for William Penn’s next head softball coach will begin immediately.