A Salute to 4 Key Builders of Softball in Saskatoon:
Bob Van Impe, Vern “Glenn” Reeve, Keith McLean and Bryan Kosteroski
Saskatoon has been a leader in the sport of softball throughout it’s fifty year history, winning 21 national championships and hosting 29 national and international championships. One of the biggest reasons for this success is the leadership provided by men like Bob Van Impe, Glenn Reeve, Keith McLean and presently Bryan Kosteroski. These softball builders have worked tirelessly for the sport of softball in our city and throughout the whole country. They have provided invaluable leadership for the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association which has been one of the most respected leagues in Canada. These men have laid a firm foundation that will benefit athletes and coaches for a long time.
Bob Van Impe
Saskatoon’s Bob Van Impe has had a long-standing association with the sport of softball in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada and the world. His initial involvement was as a recreational player during World War II with the Royal Canadian Air Force. From 1946 to 1965 he was a player, a coach, a manager or an executive member of the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association including years as coach of the Baldwin Hotel in the Commercial League. Following this he moved on to the administrative side of the sport organizing a team in the Saskatoon Amateur Softball League and then eventually becoming the first commissioner of the Saskatoon Senior Men’s Softball League in 1965.
By 1966, Bob had been appointed the commissioner of the Saskatchewan Amateur Softball Association (S.A.S.A), which led to his active participation on the national scene. In 1969, Van Impe was elected as President of the Canadian Amateur Softball Association (C.A.S.A.). He served in this capacity until 1986 and his term is marked by rapid growth in the number of players to over one million, and the overseeing of the development of a national officiating program that resulted in over 2500 umpires receiving training and guidance to improve their skills. During this period, Bob also found time to help Saskatoon host three national men’s championships.
Van Impe became very active on the international softball scene when he was elected North American Vice President for the International Softball Federation (I.S.F.) in 1971. In 1973, he became the first Vice President of the I.S.F. and was appointed to the board of directors of the Canadian Olympic Association (C.O.A.). As an “A” Director of the C.O.A., he was chosen as a member of the mission for the Pan American Games in Indianapolis in 1987.
Bob has been on the receiving end of a number of special honors. These include: being named the Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year in Saskatoon in 1979, the 1981 Air Canada Sports Award as Executive of the Year, the naming of a softball field in his honor in Saskatoon in 1984, induction into the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986, he was installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame on June 12, 2004, his induction into the I.S.F. Hall of Fame in 1987, and the 1990 induction into Softball Canada’s Hall of Fame. In spite of all his work with softball at the national level, Bob has found time to help Saskatoon host 3 national championships and over the last number of years you can still find Bob around Saskatoon’s big ball parks, helping out in the beer gardens.
Vern “Glenn” Reeve
Glenn Reeve was born in Regina and raised in Grenfell. During his long career as a high school educator, he coached football, curling, track and field, and his favorite, softball. Glenn coached minor and adult softball teams in Saskatoon. His list of coaching accomplishments includes the 1976 and 1979 Senior “B” Men’s Provincial championships with his K & K Olson teams, and the 1980 Saskatoon Rempel Brothers Midget “A” Boys’ Provincial championship team. As well, he helped the city of Saskatoon put on eight different Canadian Softball Championships for various levels from 1975 to 2000. Glenn followed Ed Reimer as the second President of the SASA in the early 70’s
Glenn’s provincial involvement includes terms as Softball Sask Vice President, President, and Saskatchewan Commissioner to Softball Canada. He also was appointed to the Board of Directors of Sask Sport Inc. He has been certified as a Coaching Course Conductor and helped the Sport History Project produce the book, “Safe at Home: A History of Softball in Saskatchewan”.
Nationally, Glenn has served as President and Director of Softball Canada. He has acted as Softball Canada Supervisor at 15 Canadian Softball championships. He has represented Canada at the International Softball Federation Congress on four occasions and served as team leader of Softball Canada’s National Women’s Team on tours, including their gold medal win at the Pan American Games in 1983, and two world championship series. In 1991, he served as the Assistant Chef de Mission at the XI Pan American Games in Cuba. One of the highlights of Glenn’s athletic career was serving as the Chef de Mission for the Canadian Team at the XII Pan American Games in Argentina.
He has received many honors for his contribution to sport. Some of these include being named as Saskatoon’s Kinsmen Sportsman of the Year in 1995, and his inductions into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He was also installed in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame on June 16, 2001. Even in retirement Glenn has continued his support for softball in Saskatoon. He played a key role in the organizing committee for the 2009 ISF World Men’s Softball Championships and has been an advisor in a number of projects.
Keith McLean spent many years playing softball, but his biggest contributions to the sport may have come off the field. For more than 40 years, he has been an instrumental part of softball in Saskatchewan, building the sport on and off the field.
McLean played for many years with the K & K Olson Men’s Fastball Club before moving on to the Saskatoon Master Men’s team, which is currently called the AGI Masters. Upon the conclusion of his playing career, he spent time in coaching and executive roles with the teams.
As early as 1978, he started to turn his attention to off-field activities, becoming a driving force behind coaching development programs. He became a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) course conductor that year, and would go on to conduct coaching clinics for more than 3,000 coaches in Saskatchewan and across Western Canada. For 20 years, he also served as the NCCP master coaching course conductor for Softball Saskatchewan, and more recently has been a theory course conductor. Closer to home, he has been active on the executive of the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association for more than 30 years, including a term as president from 2001 to 2006.
Beyond the province, he led a pair of teams to medals at the Western Canadian championships. McLean coached the K&K Olson squad to a gold medal at the Senior B Men’s Western Canadian Softball Championships in 1979, and led the Saskatoon Selects Midget Girls’ team to a silver medal at the Western Canadian championships in 1997. He also served as chairperson at four western canadian softball championships in Saskatoon.
Softball Canada was another beneficiary of McLean’s commitment and knowledge. He has been involved with the national coaching program since the mid-1980s and was a long standing member of the Softball Canada Coaching Development Committee. In this role, he was instrumental in developing coaching manuals and providing quality technical advice to the organizations. At the 1989 Canada Summer Games held in Saskatoon, he filled the role of venue manager and at the 2005 Canada Summer Games McLean served as the Softball Canada supervisor at the girls’ event in Moose Jaw. He has also been the Softball Canada supervisor at a number of Canadian championships, and a member of the host committee for nine national championships in Saskatoon.
On the international scene, McLean served on the executive committee for the 1997 International Softball Federation’s Men’s Fastball Championships in Saskatoon, as well as co-chair of the 2002 International Softball Federation Women’s World Fastball Championships in Saskatoon. McLean reprised his role in 2009 when he was Chair of the International Softball Federation’s Men’s World Championships in Saskatoon.
In 1983, McLean was recognized by Softball Saskatchewan with an Outstanding Service Award, followed by the Darren Lipinski Award in 1985 for contributions to the sport of softball in Saskatoon. He was Volunteer of the Year for Softball Saskatchewan in 1995. McLean was inducted into the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in 2004 the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Kosteroski has his roots out of the Saskatoon Phantoms zone in our city’s west side. He has served as a coach at several different levels and won 11 provincial championships and attended numerous Westerns and Canadians. He was an Assistant Coach of Saskatchewan’s silver medal winning Western Canada Summer Games Team in 2003 and Head Coach of Saskatchewan's under-19 men's team, which won silver at the U19 International Softball Championship in 2009.
Kosteroski is a former President of the Saskatoon Minor Softball League which he ushered through a variety of fundamental changes that has helped keep it the largest minor softball organization in Canada. He followed Keith McLean as the President of the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association and through his leadership the league has not only been able to hold it’s own but it has grown in spite of competition from a variety of other activities. He has been chairman of three major national and international events and has been a huge part of the organizing committee for many more, including the 2009 ISF World Men’s Championship. He will continue to stay busy this summer as chairman for this event and the U18 Canadian Women’s Championship while planning the 2015 World’s Men’s Championship where he will also serve as chairman. Bryan’s efforts have been recognized in a number of ways. Kosteroski was Softball Saskatchewan's volunteer of the year in 2003 and coach of the year in 2005. He was SASA President when it was named the 2010 Organization of the Year by the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame. That same year he was presented with Softball Canada’s Rose Hodgson Volunteer of the year Award. Recently, he received a 2014 Tourism Leadership Award from Saskatoon Tourism in recognition of the many successful events he helped bring to our city.
Kosteroski’s hard work set an example for the countless number of softball volunteers here in the city. "(A love of softball) has to do with the people working around you," Kosteroski said. "It's the team aspect, whether you're on a softball team, an executive or a host committee."