Middleton tabs Carl to lead softball program

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Rob Reischel
Brittany Carl, shown here during her playing days at Seton Hall, is the new girls softball coach at Middleton High School/Photo submitted

When the call came in, Brittany Carl pumped her fist a few times.

She immediately called her own father, Scott Hammer, to share the news.

And that was enough celebrating. There was work to do.

Carl was named Middleton’s new girls softball coach last week. Carl replaces Perry Hibner, who stepped down at the end of the 2019 season due to the demands of his job as Director of Communications for the Middleton-Cross Plain Area School District.

Carl, who played collegiately at Seton Hall and has coached at various levels the last six years, was an assistant at MHS last season. And when Cardinals’ athletic director Bob Joers picked Carl from the four candidates, she was both giddy and humbled.

“There is a long-standing tradition of excellence within the MHS athletics family,” said Carl, whose parents are both Middleton alums. “It is contagious. When Bob offered me the chance to lead the Cards’ softball program into its next chapter, I was incredibly humbled and honored to be joining such a talented group of Middleton coaches.

“I have been playing softball since I was nine-years-old and coaching it since I graduated from Seton Hall. This opportunity feels like the culmination of all those years spent on the diamond — a chance to not only fortify this program, but to also help shape the lives of these young women on and off the field.”

Hibner worked hand in hand with Carl last season and believes the Cardinals hit a home run in finding his replacement.

“I was thrilled to have Brittany join our staff a year ago and am very excited that she will be taking over as the varsity coach,” said Hibner, Middleton’s varsity coach from 2016-‘19. “She has played the sport at its highest levels, knows how to teach it to the players and did a fantastic job helping our players grow. The program is in very good hands.”

Carl grew up in Iowa, then was a standout both athletically and academically at Seton Hall.

Carl, whose maiden name was Hammer, finished her Pirates’ career ranked seventh in all-time batting average (.310), eighth in career runs (93), eighth in doubles (29) and 10th in hits (161). Carl was also named all-Big East Conference third team in both 2012 and 2013.

Carl, who graduated in 2013, might have been even more impressive in the classroom.

Carl received the Big East’s Scholar Athlete Sport Excellence Award and was named a second-team Academic All-American by Capital One in her senior year. Carl became just the fourth athlete in Seton Hall history to be named an Academic All-American.

In addition, Carl was Seton Hall’s Scholar Athlete of the Year as a senior, the Pirates’ Female Athlete of the Year as a junior and the Freshman Scholar Athlete of the Year. Carl made the Dean’s List every semester at Seton Hall and was a Rhodes Scholar applicant.

“I played at the highest level and was fortunate enough to find success,” Carl said. “Because of that, I can speak from not only deep knowledge, but broad experience. My time at Seton Hall exposed me to extremely talented players and incredibly crafty coaches.

“Being part of such a competitive Big East Conference, I was constantly forced to think outside the box and push my own limits — offensively and defensively. That creativity and cleverness on the diamond, honed over many years, is something I definitely look forward to sharing with this program.”

Carl learned much about the MHS program as an assistant last season. And now, she’s excited to put her own stamp on it beginning in 2020.

“I want to build a culture of continuous improvement,” Carl said. “Everyone likes to play the game, but true competitors love to practice — to fine tune their craft, to keep improving. Do it right, then do it again, now do it faster. It becomes a compound effect.

“You get one percent better today, then the next day, and the next. Before you know it, those small improvements add up. Winning is the result of those daily decisions to get better. Excellence is a choice, and we choose not to be out-prepared, out-hustled or out-worked.”

Middleton was a force in softball for years under the late Russ Shaub. In Shaub’s 26 seasons, the Cardinals went 403-119, won 13 Badger Conference championships and five more league titles in the Big Eight.

In the years since Shaub stepped down, both Cherie Hellenbrand and Hibner experienced solid results. Now, Carl is hoping to take the program back to its once-dominant level.

“This game slows down for no one,” Carl said. “The teams that adapt to the ever-increasing speed stay competitive year-after-year. To compete in this incredibly talented Big Eight Conference, we need to become one of those teams – that not only keeps the pace, but pushes it faster and faster.

“We can’t ever rest on our heels or become complacent. We want to be a team that makes things happen, and to do that, we need to be quick, aggressive and creative.”



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