By Chris McCarthy
Tommy Stanley is back in the proverbial saddle.
The longtime Glencoe High teacher and coach was recently named to head up the school’s softball program.
Stanley, who has been an assistant softball coach the past several seasons, felt that the time was right to return to the head coaching ranks. He previously coached the GHS boys basketball team and was an assistant in football.
Stanley spent the past few years earning his masters degree in English as a Second Language. He currently teaches Algebra I and Algebra II at GHS. He replaces Evan Talbot, who transferred to Hokes Bluff Elementary after one season of coaching the Lady Yellow Jackets.
“I talked about it with (his wife) Tracey, and we felt that it was the perfect opportunity,” said Stanley. “I haven’t really been away from it, but I wasn’t able to go full speed with me going to school. I also have a lot of the girls in my classes, which makes the transition a whole lot easier.”
This past season was the first in several years that Glencoe did not qualify for the regional softball tournament, and Stanley feels that will motivate the Lady Yellow Jackets for 2018.
As it stands, he wants the team to improve with each game and with each practice.
“We want to win the county tournament and the area tournament and obviously get to the regional tournament. But the first thing is to be competitive when you take the field, and we also want them to have fun along the way and make good memories. You want them to not only buy into themselves but buy into the team and into the program.”
GHS Principal Charlton Giles said that Stanley was ideal choice for the position.
“Coach Stanley has the background and experience in playing in winning baseball programs, and he’s been a head varsity coach for us before. He has all the tools to get our program back on track.”
Stanley, who was a standout pitcher on the 1983 Litchfield High state championship baseball team and Gadsden State’s 1985 state championship baseball team, pointed out that a number of his younger softball players last season experienced the growing pains of a first-year varsity starter.
“We lost a lot of one-run ballgames, and in some cases that came down to youthful mistakes. You just have to chalk it up as a learning experience.”
Stanley is jumping into his new position right away, as the Lady Yellow Jackets played the first of eight AHSAA-sanctioned play dates earlier this week.
“The process begins right now, and we’ll see what we’ve got. I liked coaching basketball and football, but I love this sport, and I’m excited to see what we can do.”