New softball coach has DIII experience, community college roots

head & shoulders shot of Josh KeenerBlack Hawk College’s new head softball coach is returning to his community college roots.

Josh Keener has been the head softball coach at the NCAA Division III level for the past six years – first at Rockford University in Rockford, IL, and more recently at the University of Dubuque in Dubuque, IA.

But before that, he spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons as an assistant baseball coach while a student at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL.

“I have always been a huge proponent of junior college,” Keener said. “It provided me with the opportunities that have led me to this point in my career, and I am forever grateful for that.”

Coach Keener brings with him a reputation of having a strong work ethic, high energy, relationship-building skills and being a relentless recruiter, said Arnie Chavera, BHC athletic director.

“I am extremely excited to have Coach Keener join our department,” Chavera said.

Keener wants to recruit and develop student-athletes with an emphasis on student.

“We will aim to compete in the classroom as well as on the field,” Keener said. “I have always taken pride in the academic accomplishments of the teams I have had the privilege of leading.”

Keener was an assistant baseball coach at Rockford University from August 2012 to November 2017. In December 2017, he switched gears and became the head softball coach and student-athlete recruiting coordinator at Rockford University. He held those coaching positions while pursuing and completing a bachelor’s degree in economics and an MBA at Rockford University.

Keener also has taught at the four-year college level along with other administrative duties within his athletic departments.

In addition to his head coaching duties, he will be the community recreation coordinator at Black Hawk College.

“I am very confident that Josh will continue to build on the successes of our softball program and strengthen the operations of the BHC Athletic Department,” Chavera said.

“Our goal will be to make BHC softball a perennial participant in the NJCAA World Series,” Keener said. “This is not something that will be accomplished easily as some of the best programs in the country compete in our Region.

“I look forward to the challenges presented by the outstanding competition in Region 4,” he said.