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Coach Roy Kortmann’s 800th win & his philosophy about life and softball

By Nick Fioravanti, Staff Writer

“When I look back at eight hundred [wins], it reminds me of all the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with here and how lucky I’ve been to be able to do this,” Softball Coach Roy Kortmann said. 

Roy Kortmann doesn’t view the game as a matter of wins and losses, he views the game as a teacher. 

Kortmann, or Coach Roy as his players call him, began coaching for LIU Brooklyn back in 1995 after a long career as a men’s fast-pitch softball player. Throughout thirty seasons, he has amassed over eight hundred career wins and has been able to maintain success with his program leading several successful teams.

Kortmann surpassed the eight-hundred career victory mark on March 16 in a 4-0 win over Stonehill College thanks to a dominant pitching performance by junior Lindsey Cowans. 

Photo credits: LIU Athletics

While his numbers may look impressive on the stat sheet, Coach Roy believes there’s more to the game than getting into the win column.

“I never got into coaching for the wins. I got into coaching to make a positive impact on the lives of other people, in this particular instance the lives of young ladies, and having a front-row seat to watch them mature from young ladies into young women. I’ve had the privilege to do that for thirty seasons,” Kortmann explained.

Coach Roy believes in growing his players to not only be the best that they can be athletically, but as people too. One way he can get the best out of all of his players is by making sure that they build a strong connection to each other and the game.

Throughout his career playing and coaching softball, Coach Roy has firmly believed that most of life’s toughest yet rewarding lessons can all be learned through playing the game.

“We can learn all about life skills through the game on a daily basis, and it’s my duty to make sure these kids understand this and transfer it to the rest of their lives. That’s what brings me back every season, that’s what gets me out of bed every morning, that’s why I do this,” Kortmann said. “If we just let the game do the teaching, the things you learn through the game can’t be taught at any dinner table, can’t be taught in any classroom, they’re learned through the game. What I’m concerned about is, how can we help transfer the lessons taught in this game to other aspects of (the player’s) lives?”

Empowering and lifting up others are very strong themes for Kortmann’s coaching style. There’s something to be said about not only having the passion to win as a coach but also the passion to better yourself and others. Kortmann carries this philosophy with him not only on the field but off of it as well. 

 In 2019, Coach Roy asked his players what charitable cause they could rally around for their season. Together they came up with “Our Treat,” a non-profit organization that provides meals for families who have a member battling cancer.

“It’s not only stressful for the person battling the disease but it can also be stressful on the family structure. We provide a meal for these families from any restaurant they want for as many people as they need. We deliver all the food, silverware, plates, and they can sit down and have a stress-free family dinner together and smile a little bit, maybe take some of the pressures off of what they may be going through with their families. We’ve probably delivered around three to four thousand meals over the last couple of years. The look that people give us and how grateful they are, I can’t put it into words, it means a lot,” he said. 

Not only does “Our Treat” provide the families with meals, but Coach Roy and his family deliver them personally. Family and togetherness is a core tenet for Kortmann and he instills that into everything he does, on or off the field.

While the winningest coach in the program’s history has surpassed eight hundred wins in his career, he selflessly gives the credit for those wins to the people around him who support him, his staff, and his team. 

Throughout his impressive career, Coach Roy hopes not only to have inspired his players to be the best versions of themselves on the field but out in the real world too. 

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