Kamiakin isn’t the only Mid-Columbia Conference softball team that will have a new coach in the spring.
After 12 seasons heading up the Walla Walla program, Jerry Humphreys submitted his resignation in August.
“It was exciting to be the Wa-Hi coach, but it’s time to give somebody else a shot,” Humphreys said.
Humphreys had tried for a while to balance increasing responsibilities in his full-time job at Nelson Irrigation with his family life and softball. In the end, he decided it was best to step down from his coaching gig.
Unfortunately, his last game didn’t go the way he wanted. In May, the Blue Devils lost to Woodinville in the Class 4A state final, a year after winning their first championship.
“It always would be nice to finish whatever you’re doing with a win,” Humphreys said. “But there’s some great memories, so no regrets there.”
Under Humphreys, the Blue Devils went 229-89 overall and 142-54 in conference play. They also sent several players on to Division I ball, including Hope Klicker (College of Charleston), Alyson Ambler (Connecticut) and Kaela DeBroeck (New Mexico).
“He’s just been so positive for softball and for our community,” Walla Walla athletic director Don Wilkins said. “We’re gonna miss him. I didn’t want to accept his resignation, but I understand with his job, it was something he had to do.”
Kamiakin faced a similar situation in July, when Tammy Hutchison resigned as coach of the softball and girls basketball teams to take an assistant principal post at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School. The Kamiakin softball team won its first state title this past spring, completing a 28-0 season.
The Braves announced Tuesday that they hired Tim Bisson as their softball coach, but Wa-Hi has not opened its position yet.
“Most of our JV and freshman staff are coming back,” Humphreys said. “Arch McHie, our varsity assistant, is a question at the moment. He does the FFA program and ASB at the high school. I’m not sure he can take over as head coach, but he may be there to assist.”
No matter what happens, Humphreys’ successor will have a tough act to follow.
“Somebody will take the job, but we’re not going to replace a person like that,” Wilkins said. “They’ll take over a program that is well-developed, and we’ve got some good kids coming back, but big shoes to fill.”