LAMPASAS — Tracy Brantley’s top priority has always been her team.
One month ago, however, something else took precedence.
After spending the past three years dedicating her efforts toward successfully turning Lampasas’ girls soccer program around, Brantley recently stepped down as head coach. The decision was painstaking, but it had to be done.
“I had my son four weeks ago and decided to find a job closer to where I live,” Brantley said.
The resignation comes on the heels of the Lady Badgers’ second consecutive District 34-4A championship and leaves a huge hole within the program she rebuilt. It creates an emptiness inside Brantley as well.
“It’s hard for me to talk about because it was such a hard decision since I love my girls so much,” she said. “But in the end, I had to do what was best for my family.”
Brantley, who accepted a position at Georgetown Middle School, which is located closer to her home and her family, engineered a quick and seemingly effortless turnaround upon arriving in Lampasas.
Inheriting a team posting a mere two wins in 2011, Brantley took a roster full of underclassmen and transformed them into contenders, winning three postseason games in her first year.
One season later, with standout Analise Watson leading the way, the Lady Badgers won their first district championship since 1993 and returned to the sectional round of the playoffs.
Last season, they repeated both feats before College Station ended their run.
With all but four of the players from last year’s squad eligible to return, including two-time defending district MVP Watson, offensive MVP Caitlyn Shaughnessy, defensive MVP Drew Dekort and co-newcomer of the year Qadrey Tolliver, many expect 2015 could be the team’s best season yet.
The 2013 and 2014 coach of the year will not be a part of it, though, and the wheels are already in motion to quickly find a replacement. In fact, a new coach could be named soon, according to Lampasas athletic director Brian Emerson.
“We’re real close and, hopefully, nothing will fall through,” he said.
“I think we are very close to making a hire, but I don’t want to say much more than that because I’m afraid I’ll jinx it.”
Regardless of who takes over the position, Emerson is certain the team will be in capable hands.
Nevertheless, like Brantley, Emerson wishes it did not have to come down to this, but he is sympathetic to the situation.
“I’m happy for her,” he said. “Selfishly, I’d love to have her and be inconvenienced by the drive and whatnot, but I certainly understand.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org