Most high school teams have had the same head coach over the past 12 months. Not Mount Rainier (Wash.) High's softball team. It's gone through four … at least.
That kind of coaching turnover would usually be associated with a program in disarray, which couldn't be further from the case with Mt. Rainier, which recently made the state semifinals in 2009 after a five-year absence, then made the state tournament again in 2010. The team had plenty of returning talent for any coach to work with.
Yet, according to the Seattle Times, the coach who began the season -- Larry Daly -- still resigned just five games into the 2011 campaign on April 1. He took over from Javid Shoemaker, the coach who led the Rams to the state tournament in 2009 and in 2010
With Daly's surprising midseason departure, Mt. Rainier was ensured to host at least a third coach. But as the search for an immediately replacement went on, someone had to coach the team in the meantime.
Members of the Mt. Rainier baseball coaching staff filled that void, leading both squads until another new coach was finally hired on April 13. While it's hard to determine who was really serving as head coach during that spell, the Times credited Mt. Rainier head baseball coach Darren Rawie, who is also the school's athletic director, as the team's guiding force when there was no official coach on hand.
That leads to the fourth coach in a 12-month span, the newly appointed Joleen Cross, who was hired on Wednesday. Cross played softball at Cal State Bakersfield and reportedly has spent six years coaching at lower levels. Additionally, Cross was already in the school district, working at Hilltop Elementary.
"To secure a coach with Joleen's background and abilities at this point in the season is fortunate for all involved," Highline school district athletic director Terri McMahan said in a press release.
It's certainly fortunate for the Rams, who can finally focus back on the field in an attempt to rally from a 1-4 start in the team's first year competing in the 4A classification. No matter how the remainder of the season progresses, the Rams can at least take comfort in knowing that it's extremely unlikely they'll have to deal with the flux they've witnessed in the past 12 months by this time in 2012.
- Mount Rainier