E.A. Sports Today

Ford moving on

White Plains’ softball coach leaving at season’s end; Slay retiring as Donoho’s volleyball coach



By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HEFLIN — The White Plains softball team will be playing for more than a trip to the state championship at next week’s Class 4A regionals.

The Lady Wildcats will be playing to keep their coach around a little longer and send her out when the end does come on as good a note as possible.

White Plains coach Rachel Ford confirmed to East Alabama Sports Today after Thursday’s area tournament title game loss to Cleburne County she was leaving the Lady Wildcats at the end of the season to pursue other coaching positions for reasons the players have been made aware.

She has been with the program for 11 seasons.

“I just feel like this is the Lord’s will for my life; I’ve been praying about it hard,” Ford said. “It’s a big step. I love White Plains and it means a ton to me; it’s been a big part of my life.”

The Lady Wildcats lost in the tournament final Thursday night 13-1, but guaranteed themselves a spot in the regional with a 19-1 rout of Saks.

They would like the season to extend all the way to the state finals in Montgomery.

“I’m hoping they don’t put pressure on themselves because we have a tendency to do that,” Ford said. “They’ve already told me they’re going to try to make it the best they can and see what we can do.

“We definitely have a good bunch of girls that show a lot of fight and are excited about it.”

Slay retiring at Donoho

Janice Slay is retiring as Donoho's volleyball coach with more than 280 wins and two state championships.

Janice Slay is retiring as Donoho’s volleyball coach with more than 280 wins and two state championships.

Janice Slay is retiring as Donoho’s volleyball coach and will be succeeded by a player from one of her state championship teams, the school announced Thursday night.

In seven seasons with the Lady Falcons, Slay built a record of 288-82 with two Class 1A state titles, two runnerup finishes and one Calhoun County Tournament crown. Three of her players signed college scholarships.

Rachel Matson was a member of Slay’s 2011 state championship team and was named that year’s tournament MVP. She will be graduating from the University of Alabama later this month and getting married in July.

“Even though I am sad to leave Donoho, I am so excited to know that Rachel will be the new coach,” Slay said in the school’s release. “I have had the privilege of coaching at a great school and coaching some great players while at Donoho and Rachel ranks among the best. She has a great training background as a player and excelled on the court in her career at Donoho.

“She is a wonderful young woman who will be a great role model on and off the court for the female athletes at Donoho. I am leaving the program in very capable, talented hands.”

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