South Bend Clay High School Coach, 1974 – 82
Marie Ann Kunkel was born June 18, 1924, in The Bronx, NY, but lived in South Bend starting in the late 1940’s. During Marie’s tenure at South Bend Clay her teams finished as runner-up at the state championships four times. She produced six individual state champions and three individual runner-up performances, three relay state champions and seven state records. Marie taught Physical Education and Health and coached softball and swimming during her 38 years at South Bend Clay High School Marie started her career in the sport of softball. During her grade school days, “Kruck”, as she was known, started playing softball in the Bronx and later played organized ball on the weekends while in high school. After graduation, she attended East Stroudsburg State Teachers College in Pennsylvania and played for a team based in Yorktown, NY. The American Girls’ Baseball League sent Marie a contract offer after she graduated from college. Marie entered the league in 1946 with the South Bend Blue Sox, also playing for the Fort Wayne Daisies and the Muskegon Lassies. Marie is part of Women in Baseball, a permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, which was unveiled in 1988 to honor the entire All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Marie passed away in 2012.