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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted photo/Farmington head softball coach Randy Osnes (left) receives the National Federation of State High School Associations award for Arkansas Coach of the Year for 2017-2018 (fast pitch) from Farmington athletic director Brad Blew prior to a non-conference game against Vilonia.

FARMINGTON -- Farmington softball coach Randy Osnes has been awarded 2017-2018 Arkansas High School Coach-of-the-Year for fast pitch softball by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The prestigious distinction in the form of a plaque was accompanied by a letter dated Jan. 9, 2019 signed by Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director; and Richard G. Baker, chairman of NFHS Coaches Association advisory committee.

The letter, sent on behalf of the NFHS Coaches Association, states, "You were specifically nominated by your state association, the Arkansas Activities Association, as the most deserving recipient for this honor."

The letter goes on to say the NFHS relies on state associations to help the national organization recognize those who are leading their sport, shaping their athletes and contributing in a positive way to their community.

The letter congratulates Osnes on being selected as Arkansas Coach-of-the-Year for girls fast-pitch softball and concludes with this statement: "It is our pleasure to recognize you as a leader and role model. Again, thank you for your many contributions to the youth of our country and your community."

The NFHS is based in Indianapolis, Ind., and is celebrating 100 years of service in 2019.

Farmington athletic director Brad Blew made the presentation to Osnes prior to a recent nonconference softball game played against former 5A West foe, Vilonia, which was a fitting recognition since Osnes was receiving the award for work done last season as a 5A West head coach, in which Osnes guided the Lady Cardinals to regular season conference championship with an 11-1 mark and overall 26-5 record.

Farmington won the 2018 5A West Conference tournament and came within one base hit of beating Greenbrier during the May 19, 2018, State 5A championship game played at the Benton Sports Complex. How much a change of venue from the original schedule to play the contest at Bogle Park on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville affected the outcome is difficult to gauge. Yet, the change of venue appeared to favor Greenbrier.

Both schools were members of the 5A West Conference for 2018, but they hadn't played prior to the state championship and didn't meet in 2017 either. The Lady Cardinals went down swinging with two outs and two runners aboard in the seventh.

Farmington reverted to the 4A-1 this school year and Osnes has the Lady Cardinals in the thick of the conference race. As of Sunday, the team record is 12-2 overall and 3-0 in league play.

"Any time you get an award like that it's because you had an opportunity to coach great players and great kids," Osnes said. "Last year it was like that and it's like that again this year adding six freshmen. It's quite the honor and I'm very happy to receive it."

Always low-key about receiving accolades, Osnes' coaching tenure personifies intentional, hands-on investment into the community through leveraging the program. His influence extends into the annual prom. Each of the young ladies on the team know Osnes' policy implemented as a safeguard for the social excursion means, "if their dates or anyone gets disrespectful, all it takes is one phone call to their coach and they can get a safe ride home."

Osnes won't limit his sphere of influence strictly to Farmington players.

In the spring of 2012 after the season, Osnes lined up a summer team for former Gravette star Shyanne Nichols, whom he coached in the 2012 All-Star softball game.

"We're helping out the conference," he said at the time.

Explaining that philosophy now, Osnes said its a matter of maintaining quality of competition.

"You want the best possible competition to elevate the teams around you. You don't want college coaches saying, 'Arkansas is behind.' I think that saying has left us about 15 years ago because you see so many Arkansas kids playing college ball. That's what we do as coaches, look out for the kids."

Just another day at the ballpark for Osnes.

Sports on 04/10/2019

Print Headline: Osnes Wins NFHS Coach Of The Year

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