“A year away made me realize this is my calling,” said Kulp, who will teach at Goshen’s Chandler Elementary.
“It’s what I’m supposed to do, be an educator and coach, and try to help teach kids about life,” Kulp said Tuesday, July 29, one day after his hiring was approved by the Goshen Community Schools board. “I had a very good job (in sales with an Elkhart company), but I kept missing teaching and coaching kids. My wife (Corie), she’s a saint, and she said, ’You need to do what makes you happy, what you believe is your mission,’ and I am thrilled to have this opportunity.”
Kulp, 43, succeeds Cassi McCormack, who went 21-63 over three seasons, including 7-20 in 2014. Goshen has had periods of softball success, particularly while current Bethel College star Natalie Newell was pitching there, but has often struggled as well.
“It’s a big school, and if we can get the numbers up, that will help,” Kulp said. “But I will also say that compared to the (Northern State Conference, Jimtown’s league), Goshen competes in a very difficult conference (Northern Lakes). Concord, Northridge, Elkhart Memorial, Warsaw have all been great programs. And other schools in the NLC are coming on and doing a great job. It’s a great challenge, and you gotta bring your ‘A’ game every time out.”
At Jimtown, Kulp went 285-133-1 — that tie came against Goshen during his rookie season— with five sectional titles and two regional titles over 15 years.
During the seven-year stretch of 2006 to 2012, Kulp’s teams went 160-43 and never won less than 22 games in a season. He had just one losing season overall, his last one at 11-14 in 2013.
Kulp said spending the summer following son Connor’s traveling baseball team made him itch even further to get back into diamond sports.
Then last weekend, his first weekend off from following travel baseball in a long time, Kulp stepped in as third base coach for the 14-and-under traveling softball team that his father, Dennis, coaches.
“I was asked what it was like coaching again, and I said, ‘It was like riding a bike,’” Kulp said. “The neatest thing was after the tourney was over, people are thanking me for helping out, and I’m like, ‘No, thank you for allowing me to get my feet wet again.’”
Dennis Kulp, 68, was Brent’s pitching coach at Jimtown, and the younger Kulp intends to have his father on hand at Goshen as well.
Brent Kulp is a White Pigeon (Mich.) High School and Manchester University graduate. He was a Jimtown football assistant from 1995 to 2005.
Connor, who plays football as well as baseball, is entering eighth grade at Jimtown Junior High, and the family plans to continue living in the Jimtown district indefinitely.