Former Auburn University and Opelika High School softball coach Tina Deese has been hired as the new softball coach at Lee-Scott Academy. Deese comes to Lee-Scott after four seasons leading the Lady Bulldogs program.
“I just think that I have something to offer still. I'm still young enough to get out there and pass on any kind of knowledge that I do have. It's an opportunity to work with some young kids again,” Deese said. “I'm excited. I've looked over the facilities and stuff like that, and they've got some really nice facilities. I think the people over there and the environment is going to be something that's a blessing to me.”
Deese led Opelika to the Class 6A regional tournament in three of her four seasons with the team. Prior to arriving at Opelika, Deese spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Beauregard.
Deese was Auburn University’s first-ever softball coach from 1997 until 2013. During Deese’s time at Auburn, the Tigers went 562-458-1 and recorded a 212-272 record in SEC play. She led the Tigers to nine NCAA regional appearances during her tenure and was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2002.
Prior to arriving at Auburn, Deese coached at Huntingdon for eight seasons. She compiled a 286-123 record with two third-place finishes in the NAIA in 1992 and 1994. She was named the NAIA Coach of the Year in 1992.
Deese earned her first head-coaching job at Huntingdon after spending two seasons as the pitching coach at Florida State, her alma mater.
“I think it's a great hire for Lee-Scott, for our girls, for our softball program and for the area,” Lee-Scott athletic director William Johnson said. “Her knowledge of the game and her experience has to be one of the most respected around. I think that our girls at Lee-Scott are extremely excited that we are able to bring Tina to Lee-Scott. They're going to be getting coached by someone with her experience and her expertise. That's always really good.”
Deese said going to Lee-Scott was an easy decision and that she feels she’s made an impact teaching the game to so many players over the years. Deese said the Lady Warriors softball program has a lot in common with Opelika, which she said needed a coach to lead the team throughout the year when she stepped in.
Deese explained she’ll be coaching a wide variety of players, a group that includes girls wanting to play softball for fun and others who want to play once their high school careers end. Winning games aside, Deese said her main objective for her new players is to teach them about respecting the game of softball.
Deese explained the Lee-Scott community should expect her to be someone their kids can look to not only as a coach but also as a mentor and role model.
“I'm committed to their children. I'm there to help their children. At the same time, I'm there to hold them accountable for their actions,” Deese said. “I've raised two kids of my own (Kyler and Jessi). I tend to talk and work with my (players) as if they were my own.
“I always ask the question, 'What would I want a coach to say to my kid in this situation? How would my kid respond to this, and how I would I respond to this as a parent?'”