Originally published on Thursday, July 21, 2011
NEW COACHESCourtney Rigamonti, softball (replaces Rome McNary)
James McCarter, girls soccer (takes over for Denys McCarter)
Whitney Russell, tennis (replaces Lauren Janak)
One year into Victoria East and West high school's existence, Ralph Escalona did not expect the district would need to hire athletic coaches.
Nonetheless, the Victoria Independent School District confirmed new coaches at Victoria West for softball, girls soccer and boys and girls tennis during its meeting Thursday evening.
St. Joseph alumna Courtney Rigamonti will take the reins of the Warrior softball program, after spending the 2011 season as an assistant at Victoria East.
Rigamonti takes over for Rome McNary, who became the softball program at Western Texas College after coaching for three years in VISD, two at Memorial and one at West.
James McCarter will take over the girls soccer program for his wife, Denys, who will spend time with the family's second child.
Whitney Russell returned from a one-year sabbatical from coaching to lead the tennis teams.
Russell, the former tennis coach at Memorial, said she missed the sport, students and traveling too much to remain beyond the baselines for too long.
"I am very excited because it's a smaller school and it's a great opportunity to get the program built up. Being able to go out there and get kids interested again is going to be my main goal this year."
Escalona, the district's athletic director, said it was more difficult to fill the positions with school starting in a month. Having all three as full-time employees of the VISD made filling the three vacancies easier.
"All three of those positions came as a surprise," Escalona said. "We did get some type of notification from our tennis coach (Lauren Janak) getting married. She tried everything in her power to stay, but it didn't work out.
"In the soccer position we had a coach who was going to have her second child and she felt she could not give all the attention she could to the program."
That Rigamonti has become a varsity coach three years after her final season at Texas A&M-Kingsville is not much of a surprise to current East softball coach Jody Morgan.
Rigamonti assisted Morgan last year, and the pair became fast friends while the latter was learning the off-the-field responsibilities of coaching. Though the two will be coaching at rival high schools next spring. They will remain close, and Rigamonti thanked Morgan for her tutelage in preparing her to coach.
"I planned on going to vet school," Rigamonti said. "After my last year of college softball, I decided I wanted to coach. We had a new coach in Kingsville my junior year and I learned a lot from him about pitching and coaching. They inspired me to want to share my knowledge with high school students to prepare for college."