The Pryor Times


July 8, 2014

Chouteau the perfect fit for Tramel

CHOUTEAU, OK — Matt Tramel returned to Mayes County a year ago to take on a difficult project.

He inherited a Chouteau baseball team in the midst of a perennial slump and led the Wildcats to a 28-win season in the spring, a school record.

Now, the man behind Chouteau's baseball turnaround will step into the dugout across campus this fall in his first season as the Ladycat softball coach.

"We're excited, the kids are excited," Tramel said. "The talent level is high."

Tramel spent his first semester in Chouteau assisting with the football team. Midway through the spring, assistant baseball and head softball coach Ed Russell was relieved of all of his coaching duties.

"After Ed left there was some mutual interest in taking over as the head coach," Tramel said. "It was more up my alley than football."

Tramel doesn't expect the softball renaissance to bloom as quickly as the baseball team, but no one — including most players — expected a school record for wins last year, either.

"I think we've proven we can work with hitters and pitchers," Tramel said. "I've read a lot of coaches ... and all of the successful ones say the coaching is the same."

The overlap is apparent in Tramel's approach. He hosted a co-ed softball and baseball skills camp in June, and one of his newest softball prospects, Emma Wheeler, practiced with the baseball team in the spring.

Tramel is excited to coach Wheeler, who he said has a 70-mile-per-hour arm — overhand. Wheeler transferred to Chouteau and sat out last season.

"We are looking to girls like Karlee Alberty for senior leadership," Tramel said. "We also hope Morgan Jones can play a big role for us."

Tramel seems to have found a perfect fit in Chouteau, and not just on the diamond.

Matt is the son of Pryor mayor Jimmy Tramel, and both are part of a Tramel family that has deep roots in Oklahoma sports.

Matt has three children — four-year-old twins and a one-year-old — that now get to see their grandparents.

"It used to be they would see their grandkids once every six months or so," Matt said. Matt coached in places as far away as Washington and Louisiana, but said he would trade them in a heartbeat to be closer to family.

"It's been so great having Dad around," Matt said. "He is the reason for my success, without a doubt."

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