Softball team receives new head coach

Joe Dee Tarbutton takes over team for spring season after previous coach leaves to spend time with family


Kendra Schwartz

Demonstrating how to swing the bat, coach Joe Dee Tarbutton helps sophomore Katie Murrish during softball practice.

By Aidan Rothrock

The softball team is starting fresh this season with new head coach Joe Dee Tarbutton.

Tarbutton took over after coach Nick Wood left the program to spend more time with his family.

“I came to LHS because I feel that Lawrence is a very softball-orientated city and was in a unique place in my life that it was a perfect fit for me,” Tarbutton said.

Tarbutton has coached for 28 years, including previously serving as the assistant coach at Washburn University. He even owns his own softball business, Tarbutton Softball Academy, located in Maple Hill.

Tarbutton brings more than experience to the field; he will bring equipment, too.

“[Tarbutton Softball Academy] will not be interfere with my coaching, with the exception of using some of my equipment,” Tarbutton said.

The LHS softball team is excited by the prospect of a new coach. Sophomore Samantha Mills, who has played softball since she was 5, said she is sure the new coach is bringing significant changes.

“It’s just different than last year,” Mills said. “I guess he has more experience.”

Tarbutton carries a heavy weight on his shoulders. Athletes depend and rely on their coach to help them, and a coach is just as important to them as any team member is.

Some of the LHS softball players aren’t the first in their family to be batting at the plate.

“I just decided to play…” Mills said, “It’s just a fun program to be in, to play a sport and everything.”

Sophomore Megan Williams said she believes that teamwork is important and that Tarbutton is bringing the team together.

“I think that being part of a team is important, and you meet a lot of people,” Williams said. “You get to go places with them… I think we’re more of a unit, we’re not just three separate teams this year. I think we play together pretty well.”

Hopefully, Tarbutton will be able to pull all of this together and lead our Lions to victory, improving on their record from last year of 8-11.

“I think we’re going to go farther than we did last year and do pretty well,” Mills said.