STANDISH — At 70-years young, Richmond softball coach Rick Coughlin still rips fungoes at his players as hard as ever during infield-outfield practice.

“People always say, ‘why does he hit the ball so hard when you’re warming up,'” Richmond junior third baseman Kelsea Anair said. “It’s only making us better when he hits the ball hard. He pushes us hard and that’s how we’re so successful.”

Coughlin capped off his 29th season at the helm of the Bobcats on Saturday at Richard W. Bailey, and did so by celebrating his seventh Class D championship. In his nearly three decades with Richmond, though, no period has been more fruitful than these past three years in which the Bobcats completed three straight undefeated seasons.

“I’ve had good players, but this whole group is just a family,” Coughlin said. “They want to win, they want to do it together and they’ve accomplished it.”

When it comes to coaching, Coughlin is a throwback to a different era. He holds his players to an admittedly high standard and is not afraid to let them know when they do not meet them.

“They know my expectations are here,” Coughlin said, raising his left hand just above shoulder length. “Most of them meet them. It’s amazing how many kids that meet the expectations. They want to win.”

While he may not holler quite as much as he used to, Cathy Tribbett says Coughlin has always held his teams to the same standard. Tribbett was a freshman when he took over at Richmond in 1986 and said that when Coughlin spoke, they made sure to listen.

“He didn’t put up with anything; he told you like it was and you had to play hard for him. You had to earn your spot,” Tribbett said. “I absolutely love him. I had two boys (Nathan and Cody) that played junior high school sports for him. That’s all they talk about. If they could take him all the way through (their athletic careers) they’d love it.”

Leandra Martin, older sister of Richmond starting pitcher Meranda Martin, played for Coughlin from 2009-2012 and won a state title with Bobcats as a sophomore. Since graduating, she has stayed on with the team as an assistant coach.

“He’s very hardcore,” Leandra Martin said, “but he’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”

Much like his former players, the current members of the Richmond softball team have come to learn the same thing. Kelsie Obi, the Bobcats’ lone senior, admitted that practices with Coughlin can be frustrating.

“Not just sometimes, all the time we get frustrated with him,” Obi said. “But, we get frustrated with him because we’re also frustrated with ourselves and we’re waiting for him to say, ‘OK, pick it up.’

“It’s been hard, mostly, because no matter what if we’re losing or winning he’s always going to ride you to do your best. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think we could have won these last three years in states.”

That was never clearer than on Saturday as the Bobcats posed for photos in front of the scoreboard at Bailey Field with the Class D championship trophy for the third straight season.

“We’re really happy he pushes as hard as he does because this is where we turn out,” Anair said. “It’s really great.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

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Twitter: @Evan_Crawley