However, what’s done in the summer usually has a lot to do with what happens in the fall, winter and spring sports seasons.
Not only are teams going through summer workout programs and playing various tournaments, it’s also the time when the majority of the coaching vacancies are filled.
Several local high school teams will have new voices being heard from the sidelines this upcoming year. In the next few issues of the Calhoun Times, each of the new head coaches to the area will be featured.
Today, the focus is on Chad Hayes, who will take over the Sonoraville Lady Phoenix softball team this fall, taking the place of Carissa Roustan. (Roustan left to take the head-coaching job at Roswell High.)
Hayes has been at Sonoraville since 2009 when he did his student teaching there. Since then he’s served as an assistant football coach, an assistant baseball coach, and last season as an assistant softball coach.
He was named head coach of the Lady Phoenix softball program in late June. He will be assisted by coach Candace Respress, who was also an assistant for Roustan, as well as new assistant coaches Sara Little and Chasey Niebruggie.
The Calhoun Times recently caught up with Hayes to talk to him about his new gig. Here’s what he had to say:
CT: First tell us about your interest in the job when you first found out it was going to be coming open. Have you always seen yourself becoming a head coach eventually?
Hayes: Obviously anybody that’s in the coaching profession, I would think would want to be a head coach at some point. When it came about that (Coach Roustan) was going to leave, I was very interested in taking the job. The girls we have there, I’ve been familiar with since they were 11-12 years old. I’ve known the girls for quite a while, and it’s a great group. So it was kind of a seamless transition since I’m familiar with them and was an assistant last year. I think it’s been a good transition from Coach Roustan to me. I think the girls were probably happy about the hire.
CT: What were your feelings when you were told that you had gotten the job?
Hayes: Actually I talked to principal (Bruce) Potts. I had met with him and coach (Brent) Mashburn before that, but as far as when I was told I was the new head coach, that came from Mr. Potts. I was just excited about the opportunity. Like I said, we’ve got a great group of girls, especially the seniors who’ve been there for the last four years and have played together. They’re a good group, and I look for some big things out of them. Overall, we have a group, with those seniors leading us, that have a good shot at making the state playoffs this year. I really believe that.
CT: Talk a little about your coaching philosophy.
Hayes: My biggest thing is playing sound, fundamental defense. Obviously, if you play good defense, you’re going to have a chance to win in any game you’re in. So the biggest thing is just make the routine plays and give our pitchers a chance to be successful. We have two very good pitchers so if we can make plays behind them, we’re going to be pretty successful with those two girls. Offensively, I’m a small-ball type coach. I like to get runners on, bunt them over, hit-and-run, steal, just do whatever we have to do to move them around and get them in. Offensively, just being aggressive and playing small-ball is my style.
CT: How do you plan on building on the success that Coach Roustan had at Sonoraville and even taking the next step?
Hayes: Coach Roustan was a really good coach, and the girls really looked up to her and respected her. She laid the foundation. And with the group of seniors we have coming back, we can build further on what we’ve done in the past. I think last year was a little bit of a disappointment to the girls coming off the state playoff berth the year before. So they’re going to be extra hungry to get back there. Especially with this group of seniors, I know they play a lot of good softball in the summer for their travel teams, so I know they’re going to be ready. They’re going to work extra hard to get back to the state playoffs, and it’s going to take every ounce of that because the region we’re moving into in Class AAA is one of the tougher regions in the state in softball. We’re going to have some tough competition so it’s going to take a team effort day in and day out to get to where we need to be.
CT: What are some things you want your players to know about you as a coach and your style?
Hayes: I just want them to know that I’m an aggressive type, and I hope they take on my personality and are aggressive during games. I want them to have that confidence that every time they step out onto the field that they’re getting a win. That’s my philosophy. Every time you’re out there, you’re there to win, and you should expect to win.