Shaina Manning is the new head softball coach at Signal Mountain Middle/High School.
Signal Mountain hired Manning, who played softball at Notre Dame, at the beginning of last school year, and she ended up coaching sixth-grade volleyball. This year she applied for the head softball positions of the middle and high school programs and was hired.
"The fact she is on our campus had a lot to do with it," athletic director Danny Gilbert said. "Our goal is to have everyone on staff, or at least as many as we can. We like for them to be educators as well as coaches.
"Shaina will work hard and she has a good attitude. She and another young lady, Jill Sitton, will be working with the team. Between the two of them, we feel good about where we're going."
The Lady Eagles have had four previous seasons, and all have been losing ones. Although she wasn't affiliated with the softball program her first year, Manning saw enough to know the players came from a community recreation league background and many were lacking in the fundamentals.
She and SItton, a one-time head coach who will now be an assistant, plan to give players the chance to get involved in select softball. Manning, whose background is as a catcher, said they also will offer summer camps specializing in certain skills of the game.
"The issue has been that girls were leaving and going to play at other schools," Manning said. "Coach Jill and I plan on having a summer team, too. It's very obvious our players do not play summer ball. It all starts in middle school. You can't wait until somebody is 14 years old and try to teach them how to play competitive fastpitch softball."
Manning also will work as an assistant for girls' basketball coach Jason Hill.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.