Craig Harris/Macon County Times Red Boiling Springs head softball coach Stacey Gregory talks with her players between innings during a game this spring.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Red Boiling Springs head softball coach Stacey Gregory talks with her players between innings during a game this spring.

The Red Boiling Springs softball program will be under new leadership next season.

Lady Bulldog head coach Stacey Gregory informed her players that she was resigning two days after the team's season-ending loss to Clay County on May 9.

"Softball is the only thing I've ever really known," Gregory said. "I started playing at 7 (years old). I played straight through college (at Jackson State Community College and Crichton College), and I came straight here.

"It wasn't an easy decision to make. I'm about to have my first kid, and I don't want to miss out on that. We work out two months in the fall. From January through May, it's every day and sometimes on the weekends."

Gregory was scheduled to give birth to her first child - Luke Mims Gregory - this week.

Her husband, Kyle Gregory, will be teaching and coaching football at Macon County High during the upcoming school year.

"We got married, started this family," Gregory said. "I just want to focus on that. I don't want to miss anything."

Gregory has led the program for seven seasons.

"I understand," Red Boiling Springs Principal Don Jones said. "She's about to have a child. That takes up a whole lot of time."

Jones has served as Mims' assistant coach in each of those seven campaigns, and Courtney Bray joined the program as an assistant coach in 2019. Jones will be giving up his assistant-coaching responsibilities, but Bray may remain as a part of the program.

"Next year is going to be tough, watching someone else do it and not being a part of it," Gregory said. "I wasn't really prepared for what I was walking into. It was a challenge at first. It was small school and limited kids. I wasn't used to that. I just worked on trying to build the program as best I could with as much discipline as possible to try to prepare the kids for competitive ball. I just worked really hard to make small changes every year. It wasn't an easy feat, but I've enjoyed it. I love softball."

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.

"She's been a great addition," Jones said of Gregory. "Last year, we were second in the district. That was the high point."

Gregory will remain at the school as a teacher. She teaches physical education, wellness, personal finance and psychology.

"It will be a nice change," Gregory said. "All the time I've being giving … now, I'm going to be able to give to my first and only child. I'm excited about that."

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

"As long as somebody comes in and has some discipline and not just wants kids to know about softball but to grow as a person, I think I left (the program) in pretty good shape," Gregory said.

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.

Gregory points out that she'll miss being in a competitive environment.

"(It's) probably the games, the atmosphere of the games … girls getting fired up and chanting … the excitement of a 1-1 ballgame in the sixth inning … the excitement," Gregory said.

Jones indicated that the school will receive applications from prospective coaches.

Gregory admitted that she could coach again once her son is older.

"That's always a possibility once Luke gets older and he doesn't need me as much … and if the program allows it," Gregory said. "If someone comes in and keeps it for 20 years, there's nothing I can do about it … but I wouldn't ever say I wouldn't come back."