Craig Harris/Macon County Times Sean Link was recently hired as the Red Boiling Springs High softball coach.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Sean Link was recently hired as the Red Boiling Springs High softball coach.

Sean Link faces a bit of a rebuilding project.

However, he's been encouraged by what he's seen in the initial stages.

Link was recently hired as the head softball coach at Red Boiling Springs High School.

"I have a friend who's a football coach down there," Link said. "The funny thing about it is that I had another friend years ago that worked at Tri-County Vocational School (located in Red Boiling Springs), so I'm real familiar with the community. The guy that's my friend, Gavin Reynolds, he just told me that there may be a softball job and a football job. He said, 'Red Boiling Springs is little and has its problems, but it has its upside too.' He just said, 'Would you be interested?' I just said, 'Let me think about it.'

"I went and talked to Mr. (Don) Jones (the RBS principal), and it just all fit together. We talked for a couple of months. He finally said the position is open, and if you want it, it's your's."

Link succeeds Stacey Mims Gregory, who led the program for seven seasons. She left the program in order to spend more time with her first child, Luke, who was born in late May.

The program reached the regional tournament for the first time since 2009 during the 2018 campaign, placing second in District 6-A during the regular season and in the district tournament as well.

RBS had an 11-12 record this spring, placing fourth in 6-A.

The Lady Bulldogs concluded the season with 13 players and lost six seniors -- first baseman Kylie Birdwell, centerfielder Kameron Clark, leftfielder Kara Davis, shortstop Allison Deckard, catcher Chloe Kramer and second baseman Maribel Mireles. Deckard was the District 6-A Most Valuable Player and signed with Motlow State Community College.

However, despite those losses, the team emerged from tryouts held this summer with 14 players, and more could still be added.

Traley Dillard -- a three-year starter -- returned after departing the team during the 2019 season. Previous starters Harlee Birdwell and Kennedy Fleming also tried out after previously quitting the team, and senior basketball standout Haley Davis tried out for the softball squad.

Link's daughter, junior pitcher/infielder Sloane Link, is another new addition.

"I talked to some of the girls, and we had tryouts," the 48-year-old Link said. "We kept 14 of the girls who tried out. In that 14, there were five seniors and six juniors. During the tryouts ... I came from Gallatin. We played in District 9 (in Class AAA), and we played Beech and all these big schools ... but these girls had good softball skills (too).

"Me and Mr. Jones talked about how that numbers may be down. We got out there and had girls who played before who had come from travel teams."

Link was the assistant coach at Gallatin High School for five seasons, from 2014-18.

He was hired as the freshman football coach at Wilson Central High School -- which didn't field a freshman team last fall -- prior to last semester but will instead be a special education teacher at Red Boiling Springs this fall after completing his master's degree.

Link will also serve as an offensive assistant coach for the RBS football program.

"I told them, 'This is what I'm going to expect ... I'm going to expect for you to put the work in,' " Link said. "We came in with a workout plan. I understand that they're in basketball and volleyball. There's this saying, it used to hang there at Station Camp (High School), and it says, 'To get something you've never had, you have to be willing to do something you've never done.'

"It has to be us getting in the fieldhouse and getting our hits in. We said that we want everybody to be a part of the 10,000-hit club. This is stuff they're going to have to do on their own. We want to use the next two weeks to come together and work on fundamentals. From there on, it's up to them to get in there and get these swings in and get these hits. I have to be the motivator. If I can keep them motivated until February, I think things are going to pick up. The parents are super excited."

Jones served as an assistant coach for all of Mims' tenure, but he's stepping away from the program.

Courtney Bray will remain as a Lady Bulldog assistant though, and she could also serve as the head coach of a junior-high squad.

"If you don't have a feeder program, it's going to be hard on the high-school program for years to come," Link said. "We're going to try to get that back in place.

"We'd like to see maybe a youth program. Maybe we can talk to some surrounding cities and get some interest up."

Trousdale County and Gordonsville are expected to remain atop the District 6-A standings.

Trousdale County won the District 6-A Tournament and finished as the Region 3-A Tournament runner-up, falling to Cascade (5-0) in one of eight Class A sectional contests.

Gordonsville has won five of the last seven district tournament titles and reached the state tournament in both 2013 and 2014, winning the Class A state title in 2014.

"I've never seen Gordonsville play," Link said. "When it comes to some of the teams, I've (just) heard talk. The girls beat Gordonsville this year (snapping a 20-game losing streak to the Tigerettes with a 5-3 victory on March 28). They were excited. I don't want to base what we're going to do on setting teams up as the unbeatable team. I want to base it one game at a time. Every game, we get stronger and stronger ... but those were the two teams they talked about.

"The girls are really excited. They are super motivated right now, and the parents are too. We're going to lay down a good foundation to build on. It's going to be exciting come softball time next year."