First year head coach Joe McKay is no stranger to Florence softball. He began as an assistant coach in 1998 under coach Mike “Otto” Thill. The two led Lady Falcons to state championships in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, and 2006. They were a team with Thill leading the way and McKay doing what he loves best, just concentrating on coaching. McKay retired in 2008 to go back to school for a couple of years. He returned in 2010 as an assistant to former player Ciara Hansen. This year, when Hansen opted not to coach again, McKay took over.
“I never wanted to be the head coach,” he said, citing the many administrative items that a head coach has to do.
One lesson that Thill instilled in McKay was to have good assistants. This year, McKay has what he calls ‘a really cohesive staff’. Another former player, April Isbell, has joined McKay and works with the hitting. Rob Ralls calls the pitches and Scott Byrne is on third base.
McKay expected St. Ignatius to be the team to beat in the west. A divisional tournament will determine which four teams advance to the state tournament in Anaconda this year. The Lady Falcons finished third last year at the state tournament.