DRAFFENVILLE – Benton native Kara Hamby, who played softball for Marshall County High School from 1997 to 2001, has been named the new softball coach for the Lady Marshals.
Hamby is a physical therapist assistant at Marshall County Hospital. She will work as a paraprofessional head coach, with assistant coaches Michael Cross and Brittany Ehlers.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the girls and getting a good relationship going,” Hamby said.
Hamby played for coach Tom Shelton at Marshall County and went on to play four years at Brescia University in Owensboro. Her teams there, coached by Brad Huskisson, went to the NAIA national tournament two years.
The Lady Marshals advanced to the region tournament every year of her varsity playing career, winning District 4 titles her junior and senior seasons.
Hamby, whose maiden name is Holley, played catcher in high school and college. She was a four-year starter at Brescia.
She said she has mentored young players and sought a leadership role as a player in high school and college, but this will be her first coaching job.
She plans to emphasize fundamental skills and correct decision-making by her players.
“I think it all goes to fundamentals,” she said. “It’s got to be second nature. If it’s not second nature in practice, they’re not going to instinctively do the right things in games.”
Philosophically, she wants an aggressive offense and a sound defense.
“I want a fast-paced game,” she said. “I want to challenge the other team’s defense and make them prove that we can’t steal bases. I want to make their defense work.”
When the Lady Marshals are in the field, they have to meet the challenge the other team’s offense presents.
“I know it’s about scoring runs and your offense has to score runs,” she said. “But it’s no good if you score 20 and your defense allows them to score 21.”
Hamby said she has talked to Cross about the players returning from last year’s 18-11 Lady Marshals team, who won the district tournament for the second year in a row in the last two years of Patricia Greer’s three-year stint as head coach.
“I’ve got a great assistant in Coach Cross, who’s been there two or three years and knows the players,” Hamby said.
Hamby plans to become involved with Cross and Ehlers as they begin working this week with middle school softball, a fall sport. Several of last year’s varsity Lady Marshals were middle school players.
Middle school tryouts were scheduled to begin Monday.
“I plan to be there as much as I can,” Hamby said.
As a physical therapist assistant, Hamby said she works a regular 8 a.m.-4 p.m. shift and is scheduled to work one weekend out of six or seven, and she does not anticipate any problems with a conflict between that job and her coaching duties.
She acknowledged, “It is difficult being a paraprofessional, not being at school and in regular contact with things going on there,” but added, “One advantage I’ll have – I don’t have to take anything home” from her full-time job. “I have to have everything done, including the paperwork, when I leave.”
Hamby’s husband, Derek, is operations manager at the Marshall County Co-op. They have two daughters, ages 3 and 1.