By Dave Wagner
Brandi Thomas didn’t foresee a head coaching job coming open at this point in her coaching career, but when it did she was ready.
Thomas, a 1994 Clovis High graduate and an assistant in the program the past four years, was hired this week to replace Larry Trower as the Lady Wildcats’ coach next season.
Trower decided to step down this spring for personal reasons after two years as the team’s head coach.
“It’s always been a goal of mine,” Thomas said of becoming a head coach. “I think that’s every kid’s dream.
“I’ve had an opportunity to be a part of the program under (former coach) Clark Evans and under Larry. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m really excited about it.”
CHS athletic director Dale Fullerton said Saturday that Thomas, who coached the Lady Cats’ junior varsity program the past two seasons, was given first crack at the position if she wanted it. No one else was brought in for an interview.
“When people called, I told them we had someone in-house we were going to look at,” Fullerton said. “We had four or five (other) people call and ask about the job.
“We felt like Brandi has put in her time as an assistant, and she needs to have her chance.”
The Lady Cats have never qualified for postseason play, although they did finish 13-13 this spring. Thomas said the key now is to get players active in the sport outside the high school season.
She said she would like to see a youth fast-pitch summer league start in Clovis by nex year.
“We’ve got the athletes, but we’ve got to have some kind of feeder system for the program,” she said. “The Farmingtons, the Carlsbads and the Alamogordos are all starting them out around 8 years old.
“You can’t be successful just playing three months out of the year. I think the more you play, the better.”
CHS did not offer a softball program when Thomas was in school.
“I grew up playing slow-pitch, and it was fun until I saw you could play fast-pitch in college,” she said.
Thomas went to junior college at Eastern Arizona to play basketball, but the second year she played softball. She transferred to Eastern New Mexico University in Portales and played softball there during the program’s first three seasons (1998-2000).
Fullerton said current assistants Jennifer Harrer and Steve Speck are expected to be retained, adding that the school will add a third assistant to fill Thomas’ former position.