2018-12-05 / Sports

Ferrell tabbed to lead PHS softball

BY KELLY SNOW
COURIER-TIMES SPORTS EDITOR

The Person High School softball team will have a new skipper for the upcoming season.

Michael Ferrell will be taking over as coach of the program after a three-year stint by Prentice Hargrove. The school announced Ferrell’s appointment on social media Sunday afternoon and later that day confirmed to The Courier-Times.

Ferrell led the JV baseball team at Person for the past couple of years and inherits a softball program that went 5-15 last year and missed out on the state playoffs in its first year in the Mid- State Conference. The Rockets haven’t won a playoff game since the 2012 season, Mike Shotwell’s last of 22 years directing the program.

Ferrell has a relationship with the winningest coach in the program’s history and hopes to lead it back to success on the diamond.

“I know what (Shotwell) established with the program, to get a chance to develop that back is exciting,” Ferrell said. “Regardless of whether it’s baseball or softball, I’m passionate about the sport and I’m excited about the opportunity to take leadership of a program and create something.”

Ferrell had a stellar baseball career at Halifax County (Va.) High School before moving on to Ferrum College. After college, he made a couple of coaching stops including a stint at Southern Middle School and Person before leaving to become the head baseball coach at Athens Drive. Ferrell stresses that his program will have three pillars — structure, discipline and fundamentals.

“He’s a good motivator and I know he’ll do well with the program,” Person athletic director Jeremy Clayton said. “He’s excited. He’ll bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm that these girls will enjoy and develop an environment where those girls will do well in.”

The Rockets should be competitive this season in a tough Mid-State Conference with a handful of starters returning and key newcomers expected to join the program. In the long term, Ferrell is planning on the program growing to the point that he’ll have enough players to have a JV team again.

“In order to have a program where you develop athletes at all ages, you’ve got to have a JV program,” Ferrell said. “You don’t want girls coming in the ninth or 10th grad and being good enough to play, but not quite ready for varsity and have having to sit. That’s discouraging to anyone, no matter what age.”

Ferrell hasn’t added any assistant coaches to his staff as of yet, but expects to have a few in place by January.

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