The Loudon High School Lady Redskins softball program will have a new head coach in the dugout following Chris Hayes’ decision to step down.
Jeff Harig, LHS athletic director, officially announced July 13 assistant coach Ivee Richesin will take over effective immediately. Hayes will stay on as an assistant.
“I thought one thing she did in her role as an assistant was she related well to her players, and as a former college player, she drew instant respect as an assistant from the team this year,” Harig said. “One thing we preferred as an administration was to have a teacher in that position, and Chris Hayes did a great job of holding that position here for several years. When he decided to step down and take a reduced role, I just think she became the obvious choice because of her love of softball and for the skills that she portrayed as an assistant.”
Richesin graduated from Loudon in 2017 and was a standout pitcher for the Lady Redskins, where she earned three All-County Player of the Year honors and was named to the All-District 5-2A first team all four years.
“Honestly, this is what I hoped to do one day but I just never saw it happening this soon because I am 21 years old, so I’m blessed and honored to even have the opportunity to have this position,” Richesin said. “There’s not that many people this young that have an opportunity to coach at the high school level, so I’m very thankful for the opportunity and I just believe that God’s really blessed me. Just with the Loudon community, I’m so blessed to be back where I’ve grown up and just to be able to serve these girls and this community.”
She played softball at Tusculum University, where she appeared in 38 games with a 15-11 overall record, 3.83 ERA and 79 total strikeouts on the mound.
Richesin believes her collegiate playing experience will be beneficial.
“The college level is completely different than playing in high school, but I feel like just with the experiences I saw from my head coach and my assistant coaches at Tusculum that they provided me the drills,” Richesin said. “With that, I feel like that’s prepared me for preparing the girls on a physical aspect, and, obviously, I’ve been through the weight training, the conditionings and have been through those personally.
“A big thing I feel like as a leader in any scenario, whether it’s coaching or life in general, I feel like your players and the people following you will respect you more knowing that you’ve been through that,” she added. “Even just being younger and right out of college, I feel like they might respect that I’ve been through this, I’ve been through conditioning, the trainings and to show them that there is a purpose behind it all. I’m really excited to bring that aspect into it.”
Richesin joined the coaching staff this spring and served as associate head coach under Hayes.
Time as an assistant let her to see the game from a coach’s perspective, which she believes will set her up for success.
“I’m so thankful for Coach Hayes because he was awesome and let me come in and help, and he didn’t have to do that,” Richesin said. “I’m very thankful for everything he’s done for me and the girls, and I’m excited to still have him on the coaching staff this next year. I think that’s going to be really good and we’re going to have the same coaching staff, so I don’t think much is going to change. I think that’s really going to play into this year with the girls having the same staff coming back.”
Richesin’s top two goals in her first season is to contend for the District 3-2A championship and continue building a winning culture.
“My big goal is a district championship and going on from there,” she said. “I would really love to get our culture, our mindset on the importance of everything we’re doing and giving a purpose and a why behind everything that we’re doing, even in the offseason leading into the season. That’s my main goal is just changing our mindset to a more focused mindset on softball and not, ‘We’re just out here to have fun.’ It’s for fun as well, but we’re here to win.”