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JANESVILLE

Bob Getka’s goal as Janesville Parker’s softball coach is to build a championship-type program.

Just as he has done with the Janesville School District’s Robotics program, which has flourished under Getka.

Getka replaces Steve Heilman, who resigned after the 2018 season. Parker finished 11-13 last season, but was 10-8 in the Big Eight Conference.

“I really think we can grow this program,” Getka said. “But it’s important that we increase the numbers first. We’ve been hit hard by a lack of participants, especially at the youth level. That’s why one of the first things I’m doing is reaching out to the younger kids.

“But as far as the group I’m going to have this season, I’m really excited about them. It’s an athletic group that has already got into the weight room and is working hard on getting ready for the season.”

Getka has been a math/computer science teacher at Parker since 2004, and in 2010 established FIRST—the district’s first robotics club.

Before moving to Janesville, Getka taught and was the head baseball coach at a high school in Naples, Florida. And while his baseball teams had success, the softball program at the high school was racking up state titles.

“I worked right across from the softball program everyday for 13 years,” Getka said. “And I think they won six or seven state titles. It was impressive.

“Now, I’m not expecting to replicate that kind of success on the field, but I really believe that sports can teach life lessons, as well, off the field. These girls are going to be our future civics and business leaders.”

One of the biggest obstacles facing Getka is a serious lack of numbers. Parker has not fielded a freshmen team in several years, and Getka is concerned there may not be enough players for a junior varsity team this upcoming season.

“I don’t think it’s just softball,” Getka said. “I think numbers are down in all sports at a lot of schools.”

Getka believes the quality of play Parker puts on the field at the varsity level will be competitive.

“I like to play an aggressive style of softball,” Getka said. “That means putting as much pressure on the defense as we can. And we’re going to have the athletes to do that.”

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