ALBANY — Paula Piercey spent the last two years behind the scenes at Sherwood Christian Academy, helping out with the softball team every chance she could get and volunteering at the concession stand during games.
Now the former star pitcher at Georgia Southwestern State is taking over the Lady Eagles’ program.
On Wednesday, Sherwood athletic director Eddie Dixon announced that Piercey was hired as the school’s softball coach, replacing Michael Hatcher, who stepped down from his post after last season.
“Softball is in my blood,” Piercey said. “I don’t know how to do anything else. That’s my life. … I feel like what I bring to the table is the knowledge of the game, experience of the game and also a very solid Christian background.”
It’s the first head coaching job for Piercey, who started playing softball at the age of 5 and has been heavily involved with the sport since. She starred at Heritage High School in Conyers in the mid-1990s and then became a standout at GSW, where she was named an NAIA All-American as a senior and was All-GACC four straight seasons.
Piercey has led pitching clinics and lessons for the past 15 years and was formerly the assistant director at Lee County Parks and Recreation, where she worked with Dixon for seven years.
Dixon said Piercey was an easy choice to take over a program that will be making the transition from the Georgia Independent Schools Association to the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association in the fall.
“She has a lot of softball knowledge,” Dixon said. “She played the game at the college level, and I think she will be a perfect fit for our softball program. I know her well, and there are a lot of people who follow her. I feel certain she will do a great job.”
Piercey said her experience both on the softball field and within Lee County’s recreation department has prepared her to take over the Lady Eagles’ program.
“I have been heavily involved with the girls for a long time, and while at the recreation department had to deal with happy parents and unhappy parents in every sport,” she said. “I feel like I am very prepared to take on the head coaching position at Sherwood without batting an eye.”
Her players think so, too.
“I was super excited just to be able to announce it to the girls, who were asking me to take this position,” Piercey said. “They really wanted me to be their coach. I actually texted one of them (Wednesday) and asked her if she heard who has going to be her new coach. She said, ‘I guess it’s not you,’ with a little frowny face. But I sent her back a picture pointing at myself.
“I love being in the girls’ lives and being able to give them a lot more than just softball. I can be a mentor in life as well.”
Piercey said she felt called by God to take the job.
“I am very excited to share the gospel,” said Piercey, who hopes to stay with the Lady Eagles for years. “That’s what I am most excited about to share the gospel with our whole team and other teams and be able to have a Christian spirit out there on the field the whole time.”
It’s a job — and a softball career — that she admits never would have happened without the help of her father and longtime coach Jimmy Davis, who passed away seven years ago.
“From the moment I was able to get on the field, he taught me the game and everything I knew,” she said. “Without him I don’t feel like I would have been successful at all.”