In his tenure at Prairie State College, which dates back to the early 1980s, Marty Mears has been a student-athlete, adjunct faculty member, Fitness Center employee, scorers table staff worker for basketball and volleyball as well as an assistant softball coach. Mears has added another responsibility to the list as he was named head softball coach in November 2009.
PSC produced a season for the ages during the 2012 campaign, Mears’ third as head coach.
The Pioneers, for the second consecutive year, surpassed the school record for wins in a season following a 28-22 campaign.
Prairie State history was also made in post-season play of that year as the Pioneers advanced to the NJCAA Region IV championship game for the first time in program history.
PSC also finished third in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference standings, posting 10 wins in league play for the first time ever.
The 2011 campaign also treated PSC well as the Pioneers again collected a school-record 26 wins and advanced to the NJCAA Region IV semifinals for the first time in program history.
Mears was also responsible for the postseason accolades awarded to sophomore Jaleesha Conner, the Pioneers’ lone All-Region IV selection. Conner also was selected to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference First Team.
Sophomore’s Kristen Hensen and Sam Contreras, along with freshman Andrea Marganski were all first-team All-Skyway picks. Freshman Nina Savaglio made the all-league second team.
In Mears’ first year at the helm, the Pioneers produced a 14-35 record.
Mears joined the Prairie State coaching staff in 2009 under former head coach Nicole Ashmon.
Although their record may not have been an indicator, the Pioneers did indeed have a highly successful season in 2010.
Under Mears’ tutelage, five players (Samantha Baumgartner, Linnea Lones, Kristen Hensen, Samantha Contreras and Andrea Harte) were selected to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Team.
Baumgartner took her post season accolades one step further, earning a spot on the NJCAA All-Region IV squad.
Mears, a native of Virginia, played one year of basketball at PSC. After earning his Associates degree, he completed his Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education at Chicago State University. He later received a Master’s degree and Type 75 Administration Certificate from Governors State University.
In addition to his Prairie State responsibilities, Mears teaches physical education in Oak Lawn. He also coached the Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School girls basketball team.
Mears lives in Richton Park. He has a 15-year-old daughter, Kiersten.
With nearly two decades of coaching experience under his belt, Dan Corradetti will once bring his wealth of expertise into his third season on the Prairie State College softball staff in 2013.
A former Lance Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, Corradetti spent 17 years coaching at the club level for the Flossmoor Hurricanes. Fifteen of those years were spent on the organization’s board of commissioners.
The Chicago Heights native and 1970 graduate of Marian Catholic High School will serve primarily as the Pioneers’ pitching coach.
A strong all-around athlete, Corradetti was a three-sport star for the Spartans, making substantial contributions on the football field, baseball diamond and wrestling mat.
Corradetti helped lead Marian Catholic to the Illini Eight Conference football title in 1969 and was also the conference’s 127-pound wrestling champion during his junior campaign.
Following graduation from Marian Catholic, Corradetti served a three-year stint in the Marine Corps, where he was both a starting shortstop and defensive back on the First Marine Division’s fast-pitch softball and football squads, respectively.
Following his time in service, Corradetti attended Illinois State University before embarking on a 30-year career as a member of the Chicago Heights Fire Department.
Corradetti’s athletic career didn’t end once his Marine Corps days were behind him either.
An avid weight-lifter, Corradetti, after hanging up his cleats, turned his attention to competitive lifting and found an astonishing amount of success.
In 2003 Corradetti set a world record on the bench press (413 pounds) in the 50 and over division of the American Amateur Power Lifting Federation that still stands today.
A three-time state bench-pressing champ, Corradetti also earned a national title in that lift as well.
Corradetti’s coaching file is also quite impressive.
As head coach of the Hurricanes’ 10-and-under team, Corradetti took his squad to the 1998 Pony League Nationals.
He was also the 2003 Fordan Award recipient for Flossmoor Baseball and Softball.
Corradetti’s coaching experience isn’t just limited to the softball diamond.
The resident of Chicago Heights also coached fourth through eighth-grade basketball and volleyball for 12 years.
Just one year removed from the completion of her collegiate softball career, Sam Baumgartner returns to the place where it all started for her as the former-Pioneer will serve as a first-year assistant on head coach Marty Mears’ staff.
Baumgartner, a Homewood-Flossmoor High School product, played her final two seasons of college softball at Judson University in Elgin, Ill.
Baumgartner, a standout shortstop and catcher for the Pioneers, was both a first-team NJCAA All-Region IV and two-time All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference First-Team selection in her two years in Chicago Heights.
Baumgartner also took care of business in the classroom, earning Skyway Academic All-Conference honors during that same season.
A career .408 hitter as a Pioneer, the native of Homewood, drove in 53 runs in her two seasons at PSC.