After the program’s best season in more than a decade, the Denison softball team isn’t going very far to find its new head coach.
Jeremy Green has been an assistant with the Lady Yellow Jackets for the past seven seasons and was elevated to oversee the varsity squad this week.
Green replaces Mike Garcia, who is leaving to become the head girls basketball coach at Lake Worth. Garcia stepped down after four seasons at Denison, including the most recent success that culminated with the Lady Jackets making the postseason for the first time since 2012 and winning the District 5-5A title for the first time since 2006.
“We’re going to take and build what he’s done the last four years,” Green said. “I’m going to do my best coming in and make it a little better. It’s hard to do much better than a district title and district coach of the year.”
The decision for Garcia, who was 46-49 in his time at Denison, to move on and switch sports came a year after his daughter graduated from Denison after playing for him. With his eldest son in high school as a baseball player who missed his freshman year this spring with a torn ACL, the move allows him to have more time in the spring and avoid the conflict of the two sports competing at the same time.
“It was kinda right timing. I would have loved to stay one more year to get these juniors through,” Garcia said. “I can’t coach softball because I miss him playing. I wanted to be a dad first. And then when he’s done, my youngest son will be a freshman. So that’s seven years of baseball.”
This past season Denison went 16-13 with a bi-district appearance before losing to Aledo, which advanced to the region semifinals. The Lady Jackets earned the fourth district title in program history and first in 11 seasons. Garcia was also voted the 5-5A Coach of the Year as Denison went from 2-12 and last place in what was 10-5A before realignment sent the Lady Jackets west this spring and they went 11-1 against district opponents, winning the title by two games.
Denison will return seven starters, although the losses are district MVP Jaydan Hunt, a pitcher/outfielder who led the team in several offensive categories, and third baseman Danielle Sullivan, who was the district’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“Those are two key players that we will miss,” Green said. “I feel like we have the best infield in the district and an amazing outfield behind them.”
In Garcia’s first two seasons, Denison just missed out on the postseason. The Lady Jackets tied for fourth place in 2014 but then lost a tie-breaker game to Royse City for the district’s final playoff spot and then finished one game out a three-way tie with Prosper and McKinney for fourth place in 2015.
“For me to leave with the district title, with these girls, that’s all I could ask for,” Garcia said. “I think Coach Green’s going to do a great job. He knows the girls. I don’t see the transition being an issue.”
Green graduated from Bells in 2006 and then from East Texas Baptist University. His first job out of college was at Denison, assisting with softball in some capacity that included overseeing the junior varsity as well as the strength and conditioning coach for the entire girls athletic program since 2014.
“Losing’s not a habit I’m used to. I learned from two great head coaches in front of me in Ashli Wigington and Mike Garcia,” Green said. “You’ve got to have that winner’s mentality. In reality it comes down to performance and I’m going to get them ready to perform.”