Copperas Cove softball has a new face. Again.
After bringing in Shelly Hayes to replace longtime coach James Lowery, the Lady Bulldawgs found themselves in limbo once again when the first-year coach unexpectedly stepped down in April following the most successful season since 2008.
The void was quickly filled, though.
Bryan Waller, who has six previous head coaching jobs, takes over the position after leading San Antonio East Central to three consecutive playoff appearances.
Now, he intends to help the Lady Bulldawgs continue building what Hayes started in her only season.
“I know Copperas Cove was back in the playoffs this year, and we want to build on that,” Waller said in a press release issued by CCISD sports information director Joe Lombardi on Tuesday afternoon. “We want to win district and go as far in the playoffs as possible.”
Waller accumulated a record of 62-40 with the Hornets, and over the previous two seasons, the team has gone 42-22, including this year’s 21-12 campaign that ended in the area round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Prior to arriving at East Central, Waller began his coaching career at Bryan’s Allen Academy while attending Texas A&M University. The father of two boys was also the head coach at Pettus, Gorman, McGregor, Pottsboro and Early. Waller has a career record of 243-148.
Despite losing four seniors, the Lady Bulldawgs’ roster is filled with young talent capable of developing with the new coach.
Tayler Hammack, who was a District 8-5A All-District first team selection, Irene Espinoza, Elliana Doubleday and Destiny Henderson are the team’s only rising seniors. And entering their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively, pitcher Carlee Duran and catcher Sydney Andrews provide plenty of potential for the future after each landed on the all-district second team.
The Lady Bulldawgs went 18-17 this season, including an 8-6 run through district, earning the team’s first postseason berth since 2008. Mansfield Timberview quickly ended Copperas Cove’s playoff appearance, however, sweeping a best-of-three series in the bi-district round.
Following the conclusion of the season, Hayes resigned to relocate to San Antonio, opening the door for Waller to become the team’s second head coach in as many years. There is no timetable in place for Waller to take over the position, but he is anxious to get started.
“I’m looking forward to getting there and going to work,” the 37-year old said.