For the last decade, Keri Becker has been a steady and invaluable figure in the Ferris State University Athletics Department serving as softball head coach, senior women's administrator, and interim athletics director with distinction.
However, life is full of changes and the all-time winningest coach in Ferris State's softball history has made one by accepting the associate director of athletics and senior women's administrator position at Grand Valley State University per a recent announcement made by GVSU Athletics Director Tim Selgo.
"We are pleased to have Keri join the Grand Valley State Athletics Department," said Selgo of Becker, who will officially begin her GVSU duties on August 8, 2011. "Keri gained valuable experience at Ferris State both as a coach and an administrator and we look forward to her building on those experiences at Grand Valley State."
Becker will be a valuable resource to Grand Valley State as she has been at Ferris State.
"Keri has been a tremendous asset to Bulldog Softball, this athletic department and to Ferris State University," said Ferris State Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger. "Her passion for her players and her commitment to the administrative side of intercollegiate athletics are what will always stand out for me when I think of Keri. I had the priviledge of working with her for almost a year and there is no question she will be missed. Keri will be successful wherever she goes and whatever she does . . . we wish her nothing but the best."
Becker concludes her distinguished coaching career at Ferris State which featured 11 winning seasons, three NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances, three NCAA-II Regional Tournament and GLIAC Tournament Championship titles, and one overall GLIAC Championship crown. She was a three-time (1997, 2003, and 2008) GLIAC Softball Coach of the Year Award recipient and was recognized by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) as the 2008 Division II Great Lakes Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Becker has served since 2008 as Ferris State's senior women's administrator and held the athletics director post at FSU on an interim basis this past summer 2010.
"The experience over the last 15 years here at Ferris State has been amazing," said Becker. "I have grown both personally and professionally and I have only the wonderful people of this university to thank. As a coach, we know we impact student'athlete's lives, but it is no question that all of the student-athletes who have been a part of the softball program have forever impacted my life. I will be forever grateful for the memories they helped create for me at Ferris State University.
"While leaving coaching, my team and this university has been agonizing, I am truly excited about the next phase of my life. I based my decision on what I believe it takes to grow within the intercollegiate athletic profession. I felt it was necessary to spread my wings beyond the walls of Ferris State and learn the business from a different perspective. Collegiate athletics will be where I spend my career and I look forward to having an impact on hundreds of student-athletes' lives in a different way. In the end, we should never forget where we came and I will always remember the valuable experiences I was blessed with and the education I was provided while at Ferris State. Being a Ferris State MBA recipient 2009 . . . I am a Bulldog!" added Becker.
Becker, who was born in Saginaw, Mich., and raised in Sanford, Mich., compiled an impressive 433-276-1 (.611) career coaching mark at Ferris State. Throughout her tenure directing the Bulldogs, Becker attained several noteworthy milestones. She claimed her 100th career win in 1999 (March 27) with a 14-5 five-inning win over Wayne State at the Wayne State Invitational and then claimed her 200th coaching victory in 2002 (April 10) as a result of a 15-1 five-inning home league triumph versus Lake Superior State. Becker notched win number 300 on April 16, 2007 in a 10-2 conference home decision against Ashland. She would go on to earn another accomplisment in the 2009 season by claiming her 400th career victory in a 4-1 home league decision over Tiffin on April 17.
A member of the NFCA, Becker is a former member of the National Championship Softball Committee and also served as the NCAA-II Midwest Regional Ranking Committee Chairperson. She spent eight years (1992-00) in the United States Army Reserve holding the rank of sergeant and was called to active military duty in late February 2003 in support of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.
Prior to her arrival at Ferris State, Becker spent two seasons (1995-96) as an assistant coach at Saginaw Valley State University. As a student-athlete at SVSU, Becker enjoyed a stellar softball career for the Cardinals in which she received all-conference first-team honor four straight seasons and was a two-time academic all-league selection as a four-year starter.
A resident of Howard City, Mich., Becker graduated from Saginaw Valley State in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and then earned her Master's degree in business administration from Ferris State in 2009.
A national search to fill the vacant full-time head softball coach position will begin in the near future.