When Lawrence High’s softball team takes the field next spring, it will do so with a new head coach.
LHS athletic director Bill DeWitt announced Thursday that, pending school board approval, Joe Dee Tarbutton will take over the program, after former coach Nick Wood resigned from the position this past summer.
Wood, head coach of Lawrence’s girls basketball program, said he gave up the softball job, in part, because he and his wife, Loralea, now have two children.
“It was gonna make it a lot harder to dedicate the time I needed to lead the softball program,” Wood said.
The team’s new coach, Wood added, will have plenty of talented players with which to work.
“It was a good time to step away, because we have pretty much everybody from our team from last year returning,” Wood said. “Whoever that new coach would be would walk into a really good situation with an opportunity to be successful right away.”
Tarbutton led Saint Marys to three straight state championships (two in Class 3A, one in 2-1A) from 2002 to 2004. In his four seasons leading that program, his teams went 107-24.
Next, Tarbutton became an assistant coach at Washburn University, from 2006 to 2008.
The new Lawrence coach owns Tarbutton Softball Academy, located in Maple Hill, which is west of Topeka.
Tarbutton will be introduced to LHS softball players at an after-school meeting on Sept. 26.