Cummings takes lead for GHC Softball

Cummings replaces longtime coach Tom Sutera

Mike Cummings always knew he would take the next step in his coaching career. He just didn’t know when or where it would come from until it happened.

Recently, Cummings received his chance after he was named the new Grays Harbor College women’s fastpitch softball head coach, replacing longtime coach Tom Sutera.

For Cummings, the move into the community college ranks in fastpitch softball will be a challenge, but a welcome one that will test his abilities.

“I’m a little nervous, but I’m very excited,” Cummings said. “When the job opened last year, I nearly applied, but decided not to. This time, my wife and daughter encouraged me to do it. Personally, I want to see if I can be successful at the next level. I’m confident in my coaching, but recruiting is going to be the big challenge. I truly love this game.”

Cummings’ last local coaching stint came at North Beach High School as a softball and wrestling coach, with two stops in Hoquiam’s wrestling room on his resume. At the youth level, Cummings was one of the community leaders inside the Hoquiam Girls Fastpitch Association and head coach for several Hoquiam Babe Ruth World Series squads and the association’s Hoquiam VFW Bombers travel team.

Over the past few years, Cummings also started up fastpitch softball and wrestling programs at Lee Williams High School in Kingman, Ariz. Cummings spent one year as a head coach and history teacher, then spent last fall as an athletic director before returning to Hoquiam with his family. He is currently teaching freshman and sophomore English at Ocosta High School in Westport.

Cummings will be taking over a program that has been piloted by Sutera over the last 15 years. The Chokers own five consecutive NWAC Tournament berths from 2011-15 and the program is stable with local and out-of-area players and recruits set to go next spring.

“We didn’t leave the cupboard bare; he has a decent team lined up right now,” said Sutera, who’ll remain at GHC as the athletic director. “I was very happy he applied. There were a few applicants, but we all felt Mike, with his experience at summer ball and high school, would do a very good job for us. I think he’ll do well with recruiting. He’s personable and has a lot of good relationships with local coaches.

“I believe he will be a long-term coach,” Sutera added. “I don’t know if anyone will last 15 years, but that would be helpful. Mike is a good fit for the program.”

“We have a lot of local talent and we’re losing them to other schools,” Cummings added. “I’d like for them to stay close to home and play here. There are a lot of good, quality kids on the Harbor. I’m hoping to get the players who’ll come here to stay for two years and to get as many good local kids to stay here.”

Cummings is currently in the process of creating an 18U fastpitch softball travel team that’ll focus on getting players more experience and to move them on to college ball in the future. He added that if the players on the team want to join GHC, that would be great, but they could move on to other programs as well.

“I want to thank the community for their support; it is kind of scary and exciting at the same time,” Cummings added. “I’m going to turn this program around. I don’t care how hard I have to work to do it, I’m going to do it.”