The Sealy Lady Tigers softball team will have a familiar face in charge when the spring season arrives.
Brittney Whitehead was recently named the head softball coach after serving under former head coach Casey Anderson last season.
"I actually played under Casey when I was in high school," Whitehead said. "I got to play under him and coach with him as well."
Whitehead played college softball at Blinn Junior College in Brenham and is excited to take over her hometown program.
"You've always got to come back to your hometown," Whitehead said.
Whitehead has a good understanding of what made Anderson a success in his long tenure as head coach, but she also plans to implement things she learned in college as she hopes to guide the program to further success.
"I really liked what I learned through my college coach," Whitehead said. "I played for Rick Church for two years. I'm going to implement some of the things I learned from him. From being uniform in the way we warm up, how we dress and how we travel. Some of the small things that were a lot more laid back in previous years."
Sealy advanced to the playoffs last season and lost just one senior.
"There is a lot of potential in this team," Whitehead said. "We're going to be a lot older this year. I think we have four seniors and a good group of juniors. Being older and having experience, I feel like we should do pretty well."
The Lady Tigers had a strong team last season capable of scoring runs in the double digits, but errors proved costly at times. That's an area Whitehead hopes to improve upon.
"Our biggest improvement is with our defense, we made way too many errors," Whitehead said. "My goal this year is to cut back on errors. We have a dominant offense. I feel like, offensively, we can keep up with any team as long as we can shut them down with our defense."
Whitehead graduated from Sealy in 2010 before moving on to Blinn Junior College. She was a catcher for the Buccaneers and said her experience there working with pitchers and catchers should help her as she takes over the Sealy softball program.
"I had a great pitching and catching coach at Blinn," Whitehead said. "I spent a lot of time with her. I feel like, the way they run their practices is something I wasn't used to. It's something I want to try to bring to Sealy. It's a lot about the girls being self motivated. I want them to be self motivated and not have to be watched all the time. Doing what they need to do because they want to be there, not because someone is making them."
Whitehead has worked with the softball players during the summer strength and conditioning program and has been pleased with their progress.
"I feel like they're excited," Whitehead said. "I feel like I formed a good relationship last year as the assistant and I hope to carry that over and get the respect I need and deserve as the head coach. We've had a lot of girls to show up and work out. We've had higher numbers than we've had in a long time in the morning workouts."
Anderson spent 15 years as the head coach and led the team to a regional finals appearance in 2013. Whitehead hopes to keep that tradition alive and is confident that the returning group will build on its success from 2017.
"We're still going to have our normal competition that we had last year with Bellville, Needville and Columbus," Whitehead said. "With four teams going to the playoffs, we definitely should be at the top of our district."