Reenie Stogsdill's days of coaching girls fastpitch softball in the summer may be over ... as long as she wants to be Lawrence High's head softball coach in the spring.
Stogsdill, who completed her first season as the LHS softball coach in the spring, guided the 14-under Strikers to a 22-14 record and spot in the Class A regional in St. Louis.
If the Kansas State High School Activities Assn. survives the imminent lawsuits several of the state's coaches have discussed, coaching a high school team in the spring and traveling team in the summer will be a thing of the past.
Earlier this year, the KSHSAA ruled coaches of high school sports couldn't coach a team in the summer that included a member of their high school program.
"We've come a long way in four years, made a lot of progress and next summer they're telling me I can't coach them any more," said Stogsdill, who coached the Strikers as a 12-under team for two years before they became a 14-under team the past two seasons. "I don't understand that."
Neither do a lot of other coaches. Next month at the KSHSAA board of directors meeting, coaches will plead to have the rule dropped.
Next summer, Stogsdill had planned to coach the Strikers as a 16-under team. However, those plans may be on hold as the new rule kicks in the Tuesday after Labor Day.
"I have a hard time understanding how they can tell me what I can and can't do in the summer," Stogsdill said. "I'm a qualified professional that wants to coach because I love to coach, not because I'm getting paid for it."
The rule regulating coaching in the summer supposedly was put into effect to prevent coaches from receiving what was perceived an unfair advantage of working with their players from the first day of high school practice in March until the end of the summer season in late July, early August.
"I didn't start this team thinking, 'Oh, I'm going to build this team up so I have a good high school team,' " Stogsdill said. "I started this because I love coaching. I do it because I want to coach, not because I want to get ahead of anybody else."
Stogsdill started coaching the Strikers long before she was named the Lions' head coach.
For Stogsdill, it's coach the Strikers or no team at all in the summer.
"Sure, I could start a brand new team of 10-under kids, but when you seed kids grow every year, you want to continue that," said Stogsdill, who doesn't receive money for coaching in the summer. "I need to start thinking about what they're going to do if I can't coach because I don't want to leave them high and dry."
Charlie Lauts, a Strikers' assistant, is also affected by the rule. Lauts coaches the Lions' junior varsity team and wouldn't be allowed to coach both teams.
The girls aren't accepting the thought of summer ball without Stogsdill.
"They're very upset," Stogsdill said. "There's been lots of tears because they don't know what's going on."
Parents of the girls on the Strikers aren't thrilled with the rule, either.
"As parents we're concerned the ruling will take away a knowledgeable and qualified coach from the program," said Becky May, whose daughter, Dani, is a catcher for the Strikers. "She's a coach at a 6A high school, so obviously she had the skills to get that job. It's sad coaches can't make up their own mind. It'd be a real shame if we lose Reenie."