Gainesville High has set its sights on building a winner on the softball diamond. By plucking their new coach away from the defending Region 8-AAA champion, the Lady Red Elephants showed they’re serious about it.
The school announced the hiring of Michelle Green, most recenlty of Oconee County, on Wednesday. Green is a former standout at the University of Georgia with experience as an assistant coach at the collegiate level, along with two years under her belt as the head coach at Oconee County.
She replaces Jeremy Kemp, who previously split coaching duties between baseball and softball. He will continue to coach the baseball team.
Green comes to Gainesville after guiding the Lady Warriors to a combined 60-11-1 record during her tenure, including the 2010 Region 8-AAA championship. She’ll be taking over a Lady Red Elephants program that last saw the postseason during the 1998 Class AA Slow-Pitch tournament, according to Georgia High School Association archives.
For Green, the attraction to Gainesville started with “getting the chance to start a new tradition,” she said. “Just getting girls excited about softball and getting out there and making a name for Gainesville in the softball realm. That’s the most exciting part.”
When the new coach speaks, Gainesville players can be assured she knows what she’s talking about.
A native of Duluth, Green was two-time All-American player at Georgia, and graduated in 2005 as the school’s all-time leader in wins (104), ERA (1.30), shutouts (47) and strikeouts (1,070). She wasn’t bad at the plate either, finishing her senior season with five home runs and hitting .316.
She spent 2006 as the pitching coach at North Carolina State, helping the Wolfpack reach the NCAA tournament, then returned to Athens, where she spent three years as the Lady Bulldogs’ pitching coach.
She’ll finish out the current school year at Oconee County, then pick up in Gainesville with summer workouts in June. She said players can expect a back-to-basics approach as she attempts to build a successful program.
“First thing we’ve got to do is learn the fundamentals,” Green said, “and then start winning some games.”
Follow Brent Holloway at Twitter.com/gtimesbholloway.