Current Redskin head baseball coach Al Butler was named Tuesday as the new head Lady Skin softball coach. Last season’s head coach, Kim Covington, vacated the spot several months ago for family reasons. Butler will remain as head baseball coach as well.
Bryan County High School Athletic Director Ron Lewis said he is confident that his decision will help extend the successful legacy that Covington had in her four-year stint.
"I felt like he was the strongest candidate that applied," Lewis said. "Softball is our strongest sports consistency wise and Al is one of our strongest coaches here at the school. I just felt he was the best choice for what we wish to accomplish here."
Covington said it was a tough decision to leave, but that she will remain involved in the program in some capacity.
"I feel fantastic about the decision to bring Al in," Covington said. "It’s a very good move by Coach Lewis and the administration. Al and I share a lot of the same values and I couldn’t be happier about him taking the program. Redskin softball is always going to be a part of me and I will always be a part of it. I will miss it, but I will always be a Redskin and I look forward to next season. We’re still in good hands."Butler said he has been interested in the job since coming to BCHS, but stepped aside because the coaching trio of Covington, Karen Lynn and his wife Robin Butler was a virtual dream team having all been on championship teams for legendary BCHS Coach Albert Lodge. The trio has been highly successful and just topped off their most successful season yet with a trip to the Elite Eight.
Butler said his wife Robin will now step down in order to spend time with their kids while he is dedicating time to the team. Butler also said he was excited when he called fellow assistant softball coach Karen Lynn and she agreed to stay on board for next season. Replacing Robin will be current assistant baseball coach Daniel Kaufman.
Butler said keeping Lynn is a very important catalyst in "bringing some of the knowledge from the past to help us with the future."
"Taking this job is very exciting and intimidating at the same time," Butler said. "I’m stepping into some big shoes. The previous coaching staff has done a phenomenal job and their record speaks for itself. The fastpitch program right now is at the highest level it’s ever been and that’s a lot of pressure, but I feel I’m up to the challenge. I see the talent level that’s coming up right now and there is enough there to do great things."
Butler is no stranger to coaching softball. He coached the sport for two years at Jenkins High School and has continually coached at the rec and travel ball level for his daughters’ teams. He is currently head coach of the 14 and under SWAT travel softball team.
"I know it is very different from baseball," Butler said. "It is a lot faster paced and can actually be more exciting. I mean everything is right there in front of you with the smaller field. I do realize it is going to be a challenge to shift from varsity boys to girls, but I plan to give all I've got to both."
Softball practice starts in early August and Butler said he will waste no time in preparing for his new venture.
"There are a lot of things I’d like to see done before next season and I’m looking forward to getting together with players and parents," he said. "I’d just really like to thank Principal Roach, Assistant Principal Backman and Coach Lewis for having the faith in me to do the job and giving me this opportunity."