WARSAW — Sarah Lindsey has been torn each of the past six softball seasons.
As a teacher at River View and coach at Tri-Valley, Lindsey found her loyalties divided between two schools.
Lindsey doesn’t have to be torn anymore. She recently was named the Black Bears’ softball coach, replacing Rodney Stein.
“I’m very excited to finally be 100 percent a Black Bear,” Lindsey said.
Lindsey, who resigned from Tri-Valley in June, won three district titles, a Muskingum Valley League title and 117 games in her six-year tenure with the Scotties.
They finished 10-10 her first year in 2007, improved to 19-10 in 2008, then went 24-5 and won the first district title in school history in 2009.
River View athletic director Rod Lindsey, Sarah Lindsey’s father-in-law, knows he has a more-than-suitable replacement for Stein.
“When she was hired as a teacher six years ago, we knew she was someone who later down the road would be a decent hire,” he said. “What stands out to me was the fact that she taught our kids and coached at a rival school against those kids. She always handled it all professionally.”
Sarah Lindsey is happy she won’t be facing the kids she teaches anymore.
“It’s kind of odd,” she said. “I’ve always scouted this team, thinking I want to pitch to this girl this way, but now I want to fix this about her. It’s a new point of view.”
Lindsey knows replacing Stein will be tough.
In his nine years, Stein continued to build River View’s winning tradition. The Bears are two-time defending East Central Ohio League champions and reached the regional final.
The team still is loaded, with All-Ohio pitcher Taylor Spang returning as well as Sam Ringwalt, Kylie Hawkins and Summer Jacobs.
The expectations will be immediate and high for Lindsey, but she’s ready to accept the challenge.
“They’ve had a lot of success the past few years, but there’s things they can improve on,” she said. “I hope we can continue the success here. That’s my priority. We want to continue the winning ways.”
When Stein left, he told the team to get behind and support whoever was chosen as his successor.
Fortunately for Lindsey, she’s familiar with the team already.
“A lot of the girls are involved in fall sports and softball is far from their minds, but they seem pretty excited,” Lindsey said. “Obviously, I’m hoping they jump on board, but I’ll have to see how they react to change, they react to me and my coaching style.”
Rod Lindsey has seen Sarah Lindsey’s coaching style firsthand, and feels her style will help the Bears get to the next level.
“Watching her teams play you could see how disciplined they were,” Rod Lindsey said. “She has a no-nonsense approach. That’s what we need. We were close last year, but we couldn’t kick the door down. (Sarah) has proven she can do that.”