Carousel of coaches

Head girls coaches are leaving as new coaches come in for next year

Carousel of coaches

Jessica Parrott, Sports Editor

The girls sports program will be filled with new faces in the fall as five head coaches  have announced their resignation: Amanda Douglas (softball), Lisa Branch (basketball), Jeff Kear (soccer), Ryan Mitchell (volleyball) and Stefani Langehennig (track).

“Each coach had a different circumstance that caused their move,” athletic director Jim Bob Puckett said. “This is one of those times when all had different opportunities in their personal lives to take. We will use the same process as we have used for all the other coaching positions we hire to choose new coaches.”

Of the coaches who are leaving, two have already been replaced with Jason Nicholson taking over for Mitchell and Lance Boxell leading the way for the girls basketball team.

Coaches are leaving for a variety of reasons, most to pursue other paths or bigger challenges, but some just to get out of the coaching world.

“I decided to leave Lovejoy so that I could pursue my PhD in political science,” Langehennig said. “I just finished my Masters, and my ultimate goal is to teach and research at the university level. Getting my PhD will allow me to do that. I really enjoy politics and the science associated with it, so this is a great avenue for me to take to reach my goal.”      Douglas was facing a tough decision and ultimately decided that while she still wanted to teach, she did not want to be a coach anymore.

“I wanted very much to stay and just teach in the classroom,” Douglas said. “However, with the financial situation the district is facing, I was unable to stay as a teacher. The reason I  have decided not to coach anymore is because I need some time to focus on family. With the time I spend with teaching and coaching, I have not had time for anything else.”

For Kear, the toughest part of leaving will be the soccer girls he is leaving behind.

“It was a very difficult decision,” Kear said. “My feelings for the girls are so strong and I hate that I won’t be working with them anymore.”

While many people on campus will miss the departing coaches, there’s enthusiasm going forward.

“I believe anytime you have change, it becomes exciting and new,” Puckett said. “I believe we have selected two great coaches for volleyball and basketball and we will do the same for soccer and softball. These new additions will bring a new energy and style to the programs that will have a positive effect on the all programs. I truly believe all programs are going to do well. We have excellent hard working athletes that will adapt to the new coaches and their philosophies. We will be in a tougher district next year, but I believe we will still experience success.”