As a student-athlete at Franklin College some 30 years ago, Lisa Whitlow-Hill felt comfortable enough with all things Johnson County to realize she would one day be back.
Eighteen years ago this month, she moved to Franklin and has been a resident ever since.
On Dec. 16, Whitlow-Hill was officially announced as the new head softball coach at Franklin Community High School.
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The 53-year-old succeeds former Grizzly Cubs mentor Joe Paszek, who resigned last spring after leading the program to a 17-10 record and a
Class 4A sectional title in his fourth and final season.
Already a mother of six children and grandmother of eight, Whitlow-Hill promises to be busier than ever before as she attempts to maintain and even build on the Cubs’ softball success.
“I’m real excited about it. Having played softball most of my life, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to coach where I live,” said Whitlow-Hill, who played catcher/first base for then-Franklin College coach Jenny Johnson-Kappes from 1980-84.
“When I went to Franklin College,
I decided this is where I wanted to live and raise my kids,” Whitlow-Hill said.
Much like Paszek, who coached
twin daughters Grace and Olivia — now freshman players at Franklin
College — in high school, Whitlow-Hill’s youngest child, Katie Crump,
will be a sophomore pitcher, first baseman or outfielder when the Cubs open their 2015 season at Shelbyville on March 26.
Whitlow-Hill coached her children in various sports during earlier stages of their athletics development.
It’s here she was able to observe how longtime Franklin girls basketball coach Walt Raines and former Cubs coaches Dave Clark (boys basketball) and Jeff Mercer (baseball) worked their respective programs.
“Being a parent, I learned a lot through Jeff Mercer and how he did things,” she said. “I saw how Walt and Dave built feeder systems. I want the high school softball players to help mentor the younger girls. Start from the ground up and build the feeder program more. It’s important to do that because the younger they start playing the better they’re going to be.
“And it helps the camaraderie in the softball program because the kids and families know each other.”
Whitlow-Hill has been employed with Johnson County Special Services since 2005 as a program support teacher assisting special education teachers in Franklin.
She’ll serve as a lay coach at Franklin. Her former coach at Franklin College is confident she’ll succeed.
“I think Lisa will do a great job. She’s a hard worker and someone who really cares about kids,” said Johnson-Kappes, 64, who retired following the 2009 season after having guided the Grizzlies to 294 victories and a pair of NAIA District 21 championships (1979 and ’82). “Lisa was a good player who has a good head for the game.
“You want someone who knows her stuff coaching your kids.”
THE WHITLOW-HILL FILE
Name: Lisa Whitlow-Hill
Born: Beech Grove
Family: Spouse, Cathy; daughters, Abby Hamilton, 28, Lindy McHenry, 25, Kayla Crump, 20, and Katie Crump, 16; sons, Kyle Crump, 22, and Kalvin Crump, 18
High school: Lawrence Central (1980)
College: Franklin College (1984)
Favorite TV show: “Law and Order SVU”
Favorite movie: “The American President”
Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning
Favorite team: Indiana University basketball