Softball: Andy Mitchell steps down as Douglas coach |

Softball: Andy Mitchell steps down as Douglas coach

by Joey Crandall

It was just too poetic to pass up.

Douglas High softball coach Andy Mitchell directed the Lady Tigers to an improbable run to the 2007 regional championship game in his first year at the helm.

Six seasons later, his team did it again — upending defending regional champ Damonte Ranch in the regional semifinals before falling in the regional final to Reed.

He decided to allow the two dream seasons to stand as bookends to his coaching career, announcing at the team’s awards banquet last week that he would step down.

“It just seemed like a fitting time to do it,” Mitchell said. “We had that great run the first year and then this year was incredible with what the girls did. The time was right.

“It’s been a rewarding journey all the way through for me. I loved every minute of it and can only hope I made a positive impact with the players.

“That was my goal: just to teach the game and keep the Douglas program playing at a high level. I feel the kids earned a lot of respect for the way they played and the way they fought over the years. We had a reputation that you could never count us out, and we’d never give up. I was proud of that the most.”

Mitchell finishes as the program’s all-time winningest coach with a 141-93 record over seven seasons at the helm.

He directed the Lady Tigers to Sierra League championships in 2009 and 2010, coached two league players of the year and one league pitcher of the year (this year with sophomore Kali Sargent) and led Douglas to a regional final appearance twice.

He was twice named the Sierra League’ coach of the year, and his teams finished with 22 wins or more in five of his seven seasons.

His team’s qualified in six of his seven seasons at the helm and only once went two games and out in a playoff appearance.

His teams went 12-12 in the playoffs during his tenure.

The most impressive run came in 2007 during Mitchell’s first season.

Douglas, which had finished in third place in the Sierra League during the regular season, got clobbered 13-3 by Reed in the first round of the playoffs.

The Tigers kept their season alive with a gritty 5-4 win over Elko and then moved into the consolation final with an 8-4 win over Carson.

The team had to get through Sierra League champion Reno — a team that had beaten Douglas a combined 50-6 during the regular season — to keep the season alive.

Armed with a starting lineup laden with underclassmen (two freshmen and five sophomores), the Tigers stepped up and shocked the Huskies 2-1 to advance to the consolation final.

The Tigers then upset Reed 6-5 to move into the regional final, where they fell 7-1 to Spanish Springs.

This past season, Douglas got past Reno and Galena in the first two rounds of the regional playoffs.

Mitchell then departed for North Carolina to attend his daughter’s college graduation, and the team knocked off Damonte Ranch to get to the finals before falling twice to Reed.

“This year especially was just a great group to work with,” Mitchell said. “They pushed themselves to get better every day and they believed in each other. It was just a great year and I felt like maybe it was time to let someone else take a shot.”

The school will advertise the open coaching position to employees within the school district before opening it up to the general public.