AWARD-WINNING CANISUS COLLEGE SOFTBALL COACH
Mike Rappl is a Canisius icon. The seven time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference coach of the year was the only softball mentor in Golden Griffin history prior to his retirement in 2014. In 35 seasons on the bench, he compiled a record of 831-526-2 overall and a 330-124 mark in MAAC play. One can safely say that Mike is the most accomplished college coach in Western New York history and that his softball program is the most successful of any college team that has represented the area, at any level.
Mike’s softball coaching career started off slowly. After being asked by athletic director Dr. Daniel P. Starr to begin a program in 1980, Mike’s first team got off to a rocky start. However a year later, the Griffs posted the first of 22 consecutive winning seasons.
Along the way, Mike also assisted the women’s basketball program and then took over the head position in 1986. Over the following seven years his team would win 93 games and he would also serve as the Venue Chair for the World University Games.
A multi-tasker at heart, Rappl not only guided the softball and basketball teams, he spent time as the athletic facilities coordinator and compliance officer, and coached softball in the Empire State Games, where his teams medaled eight times and captured three golds.
Despite his many successes, it is his prowess as a softball skipper that has earned him the right to be in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Consider some of these accomplishments – 13 MAAC Regular season crowns, 12 MAAC Tournament championships and 11 trips to the NCAA Division I Softball Tournament, where his team won five games.
Rappl enjoyed his greatest success in the mid-90’s. From 1993-97, Canisius went 164-46, including a then national record of 35 consecutive wins in 1993, recorded an NCAA Tourney win over Rutgers in 1994 and posted a five year conference mark of 53 wins against only five defeats.
Eleven of Mike’s players earned national recognition for their play on the field and work in the classroom, 13 received regional honors and 61 players were honored as All- MAAC selections. Of those 61 all-league honorees, five were named MAAC Player of the Year, five Pitcher of the Year and two MAAC Rookie of the Year. After the 2011-12 academic year, Lizzy Gatto was honored as the MAAC’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award, and Katie Miranto was recognized as the 2007-08 MAAC Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
Upon his retirement, Mike’s 831 career wins ranked him as one of the top-60 coaches in Division I softball history in career victories.
In the summer of 2005, he was honored by his high school alma mater, as he was inducted into the St. Mary’s High School Athletic Hall of Fame. In November 2007, he was inducted into the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Canisius Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.