The Selma High softball team will have a new coach in the dugout this spring.
Chris Tapia will take over the softball program after being hired as the new head coach this past summer.
It’s the first varsity head coaching job for Tapia, who spent the past 10 years as the junior varsity football coach at Selma High.
“It’s exciting and sometimes it’s surreal,” Tapia said. “Right now, this early it still seems like it’s not quite true. It just hasn’t hit me yet. We haven’t had a game out here yet.”
Tapia began his coaching career at McLane High School coaching junior varsity football and baseball while he attended college in 2001-04. After, Tapia received his first full-time teaching job at Riverdale High School where he also coach football and baseball. Tapia’s next coaching and teaching job eventually would be at Selma High.
During his 10 years of coaching junior varsity football, the team only had two seasons of going under .500. His career record at Selma was 66-32-1.
The 2019 season will be Tapia’s fourth year coaching fastpitch softball.
Tapia started coaching softball when his daughters gained interest in the sport, which eventually made him transition to coaching a travel ball team. Tapia’s oldest daughter Laila is a freshman at Selma High, but he said she will be on the junior varsity softball team this upcoming season.
Other than travel ball, Tapia does have experience coaching softball at Abraham Lincoln Middle School. Tapia said he coached majority of the girls on this year’s team when they were in seventh and eighth grade.
As for his current job, Tapia will inherit a program that has had recent success on the diamond.
Selma has made three-straight Valley championship appearances at Fresno State for the past three years. The Bears last two trips have ended in celebration on Margie Wright Diamond.
Last season, the Bears went 16-9 overall, but fell short of a Central Sequoia League title with a second place finish at 7-3. It was the first time the program hasn’t won a league title since 2014. Selma was reigning league champions the past three years coming into the 2018 season.
From 2015-18, the Bears won 35-straight CSL games before the streak ended against Exeter on April 27.
With recent success, Tapia said he understands the high expectations of the program.
“Our expectations are going to stay the same,” Tapia said. “We’re not slowing down, not stopping, we’re going to continue to expect very successful teams. We’re going to compete every inning...but the expectation remains business as usual. The expectation should be we’re going to compete for a Valley championship.”
Tapia will inherit a senior class that has multiple years of varsity experience and he speculates he’ll have at least 4-6 underclassmen on the team.
“The seniors and the girls that graduated last couple of years have establish a tradition here,” Tapia said. “The girls that are coming in behind them know what to expect coming in.”
Tapia hopes 2019 will be the start of a long career coaching varsity softball at Selma High.
“I love to keep this job for the rest of my career,” Tapia said. “I’ve teaching and coaching for 10 years now. I just completed my 10th year...I’m in this for the long haul forsure.”