Kadi Tenney is a veteran assistant softball coach.
And she’s good at it.
So she’ll likely do a great job as Payson’s new varsity head coach.
There are just things she’ll have to learn to deal with in her new role.
“I’ve been here on and off for about 13 years as an assistant, but it’s a whole different thing to be a head coach,” she said.
Coaching turnover has been a problem at Payson the last several years. If I’ve learned one thing in my 30 years of covering high school sports it’s that the biggest factor in building successful athletic programs is great coaching. And changing coaches every few years is a recipe for mediocrity. Kids flourish under coaches running the same system year after year.
Teaching them the fundamentals at the lower levels makes the transition to varsity much smoother.
That’s more crucial in sports like football where there are so many plays and schemes to learn that change from one coaching philosophy to the next.
But familiarity with the coaching staff is also important in the other sports, including softball. That’s why the fact that former Longhorns varsity head coach Will Dunman is staying with the program as a volunteer assistant is such a good thing.
“We work really well together and I think it allows some continuity for the girls to have Will here,” Tenney said.
Add in the addition of veteran travel coach Curtis Johnson this year, and it’s a strong staff.
“I’m excited to have a good coaching staff,” Tenney said. “Curtis coached one or two years of high school ball, but he’s always coached the club ball team. He’s been coaching some of these girls for two or three years.
“He has a lot of tournament experience at a pretty high level of club ball. So it’s going to help our coaching strategy a lot. Between the three of us, I find peace in the fact that I have two experienced assistants in my first year as head coach to help me figure out what I’m doing.”
I haven’t been here long, but I have a good feeling about this staff. And I’m optimistic about the Longhorns’ chances of enjoying a big season behind Brigham Young-bound pitcher Arianna Paulson. Great pitchers can carry a team far in high school softball.
Great coaching doesn’t hurt either.