RINGGOLD, Ga. - Sometimes it just works out. Shane Pendley had an itch to scratch, and Ringgold High School had the perfect solution.
Pendley, three years removed from coaching, was named the head softball coach at the perennial northwest Georgia power this week, replacing one of his former student-athletes. Rachel Hodge resigned her coaching duties last month to concentrate on her family.
"It's kind of odd to be taking over from one of my ex-players," said Pendley, who last coached softball at Notre Dame and who also had a stint at Ringgold. "She's done a great job with that program and I'm excited to get started. Like Rachel, I took a step back from coaching a few years ago for my family, and I recently found out I couldn't get rid of that itch to coach again."
Ringgold had back-to-back 32-8 seasons the past two years and finished second in the state in 2012. Hodge took the Lady Tigers to the Elite Eight in Columbus in four of her five seasons, a run of success the school hopes to maintain.
"As soon as we interviewed him, I was sold," Ringgold athletic director Robert Akins said. "He will bring discipline and integrity with him, and everybody we talked to about Shane had good things to say about him. Coach Hodge left the program in good shape, and we feel it's in good hands now as well."
There was also a coaching change at another northwest Georgia power this week. Well, sort of. Dade County announced that one of its co-coaches, Autumn Sigler, has given up the position and that the program's other co-coach, Christine Engbers, will have the position to herself.
The Lady Wolverines won the 2012 Class AA state championship with the two coaches and returned to the Elite Eight last season.
"I am very excited for this upcoming season," Engbers said. "Although we lost 10 seniors, we have a solid group of younger kids that have worked hard despite playing behind those 10. The team this year is very committed and excited about the upcoming year, and they already know what I expect from them. We will have a different look about us this year, but we're hoping to find the right style of play for our basically brand-new team."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.