Created on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 Written by AARON LaBATT
An impressive coaching era has ended at West Liberty-Salem.
Lanay Cordell, shown congratulating Courtney Milliron after a home run against Versailles in a tournament game last spring, has decided to step down as the Tigers’ softball coach. She took the team to the state tournament three times in her 10 years as head coach. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MATT HAMMOND)
Lanay Cordell, who led the Tigers’ softball program to the Division III state tournament three times, is stepping down after 10 seasons.
A teacher at WL-Salem, she plans to begin taking college classes again in pursuit of a master’s degree.
“It was just time for me to step down,” said Cordell. “I love coaching and it has been a part of my life for 20 years. I have some different priorities now and I felt like it was a good time to step down and let someone else take over.
“I’m going back to school to pursue my master’s. It wasn’t a decision that I made lightly. I thought about this for a long time and have a lot of mixed emotions over it. I’m not ashamed to say I even cried over it. Softball has been a big part of my life and to take away such a huge part of my life was a hard decision.”
Cordell coached the Tigers from 2003 until last spring, and over that time accumulated an eye-popping 242-40 record.
Her teams made three Division III state tournament appearances (2008, 2010, 2011) and the Tigers were state runners-up in 2010.
Cordell’s teams also claimed nine Ohio Heritage Conference championships, seven sectional and district championships and three regional titles.
“I was really fortunate to have so many years with great athletes that were dedicated to me and the program,” said Cordell. “It made coaching a lot of fun at West Liberty.
“The key was having athletes willing to put themselves out there and not be satisfied with just a league title. They had the dream of winning a district or regional title and going to state. The athletes bought in and it made it a lot of fun and rewarding.”
Aside from all of the titles her teams won, it was the memories with her players that meant the most to her.
“Coaching wasn’t about all the wins, it was about the athletes,” said Cordell. “A lot of these girls that graduated are very special to me and we keep in contact. That is what it was all about to me. We got to do something special that we love and that is play the game of softball.
“The very first time we won a district title was a big thing because it was a stepping stone. Then when we won our first regional title and going to state was big, too.”
Cordell’s assistant for the past five years, Dennis McIntosh, takes over the softball program at WL-Salem.
“The program is absolutely in good hands with Dennis,” said Cordell. “He is very knowledgeable and he will do a great job.”