As a young three-year head coach, no one in school history was more successful than Mandy Sumner. But despite guiding the Colville High softball team to a fourth place state finish and two runner-up finishes in that span, the CHS graduate announced her resignation earlier this month.
Sumner, who also headed up the junior high school softball program, is one of the top catchers in CHS history and played for one of the school’s most successful coaches of all-time, Clyde Brown.
“I thought long and hard about this and I talked to a lot of people about it,” Sumner said in making her announcement. “My reasons are numerous…some people know several of them.”
The official announcement talked about spending more time with a young family and with her husband, Rob Sumner, also an integral part of the program and coaching staff.
Will spend more time with her family.
And there was the stress of running a program that has always succeeded—and has always been expected to succeed.
“To make a long story short, the amount of stress involved in heading up the program is not conducive to where I am at in my life with my young children,” the 30-year-old Sumner said. “They need me full-time and I am not able to do that when I am also coaching.”
Sumner, whose teams were three-time league champions and two-time district champions during her tenure and won more than 70 games in those three seasons as head coach, will miss her “girls” more than anything.
“I plan to stay involved behind the scenes, working with pitchers and catchers and doing individual training for those who want it,” she said. “It just won’t be on an official, contractual basis with the school.”
Sumner will miss her girls and the interactions.
“That’s going to be my biggest problem—not seeing those girls every day in the spring. I love my players…we bond during the season…I can’t just drop them and move on. I’m choosing a smaller role where I feel that I can still help athletes and still be the person my family deserves. I am a firm believer in putting family first…I will stand behind that.
“But it’s going to be difficult not being in the trenches—good and bad. Not being in that inner circle and sharing the day to day development of the girls.”
Sumner, who coached under former CHS head coach Scot Stuart for one year before assuming the head job, is proud of what she, fellow coaches and players were able to accomplish.
“I want to thank those involved on my second hiring committee for giving me the opportunity to enrich young women’s lives,” she added. “I leave with a heavy heart, but with a lot of pride for what I was able to accomplish with the softball program in my three short years. The record, state placings and three-time Coach of the Year honors should speak for themselves.
“It’s my hope for Colville softball that the next coach puts in as much love and dedication into it as I have, but is also met with support and positive affirmations.”
Indians will continue to succeed on the diamond
Sumner is the first to concede that she inherited considerable talent when she took over for Stuart. After the Indians narrowly lost to Connell in the 2012 title game in Richland during the spring, CHS is poised for another deep run next spring, albeit at the 2A level in the Great Northern League.
“There is a lot of talent coming back,” Sumner said. “Six of the nine players coming back have All-League or All-State status. And there are some kids coming up who are very capable and will fill in well.”