On Tuesday, one successful coaching career came to an end while another continued at West Lincoln High School.
Allen Hoyle, who coached for years, decided to resign as softball coach. Hoyle will remain a teacher at the high school but due to wanting to spend more time with his family he stepped down.
â€œHeâ€™s got grand kids, so he wants to spend more time with them,â€ Rebelsâ€™ Athletic Director Wayne Navey said.
The man replacing him is Kirby Overcash who has 16 years of coaching and refereeing experience at the high school lever and in college. Sports heâ€™s coached include track and field, volleyball, swimming and cross-country.
Navey believes Overcash, who enters his first year in the Lincoln County school system, will fit in well at West Lincoln High School.
â€œHe had a successful coaching experience at North Mecklenburg and has coached some on the college level in volleyball and swimming. I think heâ€™ll fit in well with our kids and community,â€ he said.
Part of what sold new West Lincoln Principal Mitch Sherill and Navey on Overcash was his personality and character.
â€œHeâ€™s real down-to-earth and we felt like he had really good references from where he came from. Heâ€™ll be able to relate well to both our faculty and our students. Heâ€™s got personal skills,â€ Navey said.
For Overcash, it was an instant attraction to Lincoln County.
â€œI went to the job fair for Lincoln County Schools. They were having â€˜50s day and it looked like they were having such a good time. I was at North Meck at the time, however the drive got to me coming from Maiden. I really liked what I saw,â€ he said.
Overcash explained the courting process that Sherill initiated.
â€œHe called me the third week of June and asked me if I was still interested in teaching there. I figured what do I have to lose, it wouldnâ€™t hurt to try. When I interviewed he opened up the idea of teaching math and to coach softball,â€ he said.
Kirby has no previous softball coaching experience, but he reiterates the main point of emphasis is the kids.
â€œThe most important thing is to provide the opportunity for the kids to participate and I will work to become the best coach I possibly can. I said I will it a shot, give it my best shot to build a strong softball program at West Lincoln,â€ Overcash said.
This week Overcashâ€™s coaching responsibilities doubled deciding he would also accept the menâ€™s soccer position left vacant by Enrique Visoto. Visoto left West Lincoln and Lincoln County in favor of the Washington, D.C. area.
Last Thursday, Mitch Sherill first contact Overcash wanting to see if he was interested in coaching soccer. Overcash then sat down with them on Monday to discuss the prospect further.
â€œThey (Sherill and Navey) both had a look in their eyes and urgency in their voices and I sensed that, so I said â€˜Iâ€™ll be a team playerâ€™ and accept the coaching job,â€ Overcash said.
Soccer will begin on Thursday the first day of school for Lincoln County schools.
â€œWeâ€™re going to meet with the potential soccer players on Thursday when the kids get back in school then weâ€™ll start with soccer practice at that time,â€ Navey said.
The athletic director said that Sherillâ€™s places high academic expectations on all of West Lincolnâ€™s faculty and that was taken into consideration first with Overcashâ€™s hire.
â€œHe comes with real good teaching credentials in math. Our first priority is to find good teachers and coaches. We feel like we have both qualities with him,â€ Navey said.
Hoyleâ€™s resignation ends an impressive coaching run in girlsâ€™ softball. In 1992, Hoyle and Randy Hull co-head coached a team that went to the 2A State Championship game. Again in 1996 his squad made it to the 2A State Tournament advancing to the final four. His young ladies garnered him five conference titles and advanced to state playoffs seven times from 91-97, 2001-2004. Hoyle earned Coach of the Year honors three different times in his illustrious career.
Hoyle reflected on his time in the Lady Rebelsâ€™ dugout.
â€œI worked with a lot of great student-athletes and have gotten a lot of support from administration. and coaching staff. I have enjoyed it quite immensely. I have two grand babies now and I felt like it was time to rest a little bit and enjoy my family a little more,â€ he said.
Although, it was a big decision for Hoyle he has not regretted it one time.
â€œI went to bed and prayed about it and the next morning I put in my letter of resignation,â€
For anyone that knows Hoyle, he embodies sportsmanship and character– both he imparted to his teams over the years.
â€œI always said I wanted them to be committed to softball. But that softball should be the fourth most important thing: God first, family second, school work third and athletics is fourth. I hope I have taught them more about life, than softball,â€ he said.
His successor, has a similar goal in mind.
â€œThe bottom line is helping each kid reach their full potential and apply the same principle in the classroom.
by John Mark Brooks