Alyson Bishoff understands it will not be easy.
Regardless of reasons, Killeen struggles on the softball diamond, continually residing at the bottom of the district standings while regularly suffering lopsided losses.
In the past four seasons, the Lady Kangaroos produced a total of three district victories and have not won a district game since 2019, going winless through five games before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the remainder of the 2020 season and failing to earn a victory during the spring.
Along with defeats on the field, there has been routine turnover in leadership as Killeen experienced two head coaches in the last two years.
Recently, Bishoff extended the streak, and while it might not be an ideal situation to walk into, she would not want it another way.
“I am not going anywhere,” Bishoff said. “My goal is to turn this program around and put Killeen on the map, and that is going to take time.
“If I don’t come in with that mentality, then I can’t accomplish what I need to, because when I accepted the job, I was told that I might only have nine players.”
And the number was not for simply the varsity roster. Instead, it represented the entire program after the Lady Kangaroos only fielded one team last season, forgoing freshmen and junior varsity squads.
Since her hiring, however, Bishoff, who immediately began overseeing Killeen’s strength-and-conditioning sessions, has almost doubled the amount of potential players, specifically reaching out to underclassmen, who can help build and develop the program.
Her intentions go even deeper, though.
“I made it very clear that these girls were going to become huge community leaders in the local middle schools,” Bishoff said, “because middle schools are where you can change a program.
“They understand that now, and that is very important.”
Just entering the third year of her coaching career, Bishoff might be new to the job, but she is very familiar with success.
Bishoff was a standout first baseman for area powerhouse Belton, where she earned all-district and all-state honors before graduating in 2014. During her final season, the Lady Tigers’ all-time leader in home runs with 24, recorded 49 RBIs.
Only years removed from competing at the high school level, Bishoff believes her youth is an advantage.
“I’m pretty young,” she said, “and I can understand what a majority of them are going through. I hope that is a way we will connect.
“One of the main things I’m told about these kids is a lot of them are working and have jobs. Well, I played a Division I sport and had three jobs.”
Bishoff went on to play collegiately at Abilene Christian, where she started 26 games her senior season, before falling out of athletics altogether for a year. Then, she made her debut in coaching, serving as an assistant at McGregor for two years.
While her resume was short, Killeen was welcoming.
“As soon as I walked in the room with (Killeen athletic coordinator) Neil Searcy,” Bishoff said, “it just felt right.
“He made me feel comfortable, he didn’t make me feel like I was too young for the job, and he spoke to me
on a professional level in comparison to some of the other interviews I was getting.”
Already entrenching herself within the program, Bishoff will soon start taking the next steps toward fielding a team capable of competing for a district championship.
She understands it will not be easy, and she would not want it another way.
“I know Killeen has a lot of softball talent,” Bishoff said. “I’ve coached a lot of it via other avenues.
“Now, the goal is finding it, developing it and creating a product that gets recognition, because it just doesn’t right now, but I’m serious about changing that.”