WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Lakota West High School softball coach Keith Castner won his 500th career game Wednesday night as the Firebirds defeated visiting Princeton 14-0.
Castner, who has guided the Firebirds since the school opened in 1997, has a 500-174 career record, according to the Lakota West athletic department.
Castner is the 18th softball coach in Ohio High School Athletic Association history to earn at least 500 career wins, according to the OHSAA record list.
"In his 25 years as head coach for the Firebirds, Coach Castner had made it a science in creating a unified and goal-oriented team," Lakota West athletic director Scott Kaufman said. "He pushes everyone to work hard every day — both on and off the field — and he does it with a compassionate and positive mindset at all times. He adds humor when there needs to be and pushes the team to perform at their best."
Congratulations to Lakota West Head Coach Keith Castner who earned his 500 Career Win as the Head Coach of Lakota West Softball this afternoon! #AAGF @FirebirdTweets @LWFirebirdsSB @westfirebirds @SD_LODI @LakotaSuper @LakotaDistrict pic.twitter.com/XNcyF04Wz6— Scott Kaufman (@LakotaWestAD) April 20, 2022
Castner has led the Firebirds (12-3) to four Division I state Final Four appearances including 2005, 2006, 2011 and as the state runner-up in 2018. He has led Lakota West to seven Greater Miami Conference championships including 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2021.
"He coaches from the mentality: 'Respect all and fear none,'" Kaufman said. "He has found a way to get the most out of every team he has coached. But if there is one thing I know that matters most about Coach Castner — he is personally less concerned about the last 500 wins than he is about winning their last game this year. He has a special group of girls and he and his staff work hard every day keeping them focused on what can happen if they continue to play and celebrate for each other."
Castner guided Lakota West to a Greater Miami Conference softball championship in 2003. This was also the first championship won by a Lakota West team in any spring sport, according to the school.