West takes life by the horns: Rams coach quits to spend time with family | Sports
Robbie West had an important reason to start his coaching career.
The same motivator led him to resign from his position as a softball coach for Raceland last week.
West’s daughter Raegan developed an interest in softball during her early years of elementary school. West was asked to help with the young team. He jumped at the chance to spend more time with his daughter in the field.
Former Rams coach Shawn Johnson made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“Coach Johnson texted me and asked me to stop by the old Raceland Gym,” West recalls of his introduction to training. “I walked in and he’s standing beside the stage. He said to me: ‘Coach, I have your equipment bag and here is the list for your team.’ “
“We were the Stingrays and our colors were pink,” he added. “My wife said to me, ‘You realize that if the girls wear pink, you have to wear that color too.’ I could take off a pink shirt.
Raegan eventually made it to the college roster and became a powerful pitcher inside the circle. His father joined Johnson’s coaching staff for five seasons before returning to the program in 2020.
Spring sports have been canceled this season due to COVID-19. The Rams won the region’s top 25 games in 2021 and Raceland advanced to the All “A” Classic State semifinals.
West is a huge baseball fan, but softball has become his favorite sport.
“There is nothing better than softball,” said Robbie West. “Softball has provided so many opportunities for me and my family. It’s a great sport and it’s so fast. It’s different from baseball. But to go to a baseball game after many years of training in softball, baseball has become boring. Softball is so much fun.
Raegan West decided to play college softball in Charleston and the family recently watched one of her games. Robbie West had weighed his options on his future as a coach, but when his daughter took to the pitch he knew where he wanted to be next spring.
“Watching her grow up in the sport, and the time and effort she put into the game, it was amazing,” West said. “The very first time seeing her take the circle in seventh grade, it was a special feeling. I couldn’t be more proud of her.
West also said he needed to devote more time to his job as his job has grown and changed over the past few years. He felt it was the best time to walk away.
The former skipper said he was proud of all his players. West leaves with a stellar upper class, the same group he’s guided through Little League, college, and the varsity team. These seven players have helped make Raceland a regional contender. Five are playing the next level.
“The game has evolved,” said Robbie West. “The talent in this area has reached a high level. The sport has grown from year to year. Seeing so many girls from this area thrive in softball is really cool.
Principal and athletic director Tom Collins said assistant coach Gregg Martin has been appointed interim coach. He will oversee the day-to-day operations of the program until a successor is chosen.
“Raceland-Worthington High School and I want to thank Coach West and his family,” said Collins, “for the many hours and sacrifices made to help keep Raceland Softball one of the premier programs in the East of Kentucky, West and Coach Johnson are just a few of the many reasons Raceland is and will continue to be a special place.
West believes the program will continue to thrive as the talent level returns next season.
“The program has reached a high standard,” West said. “It will take the right person to lead the program in the future. Even though we lost these girls last year, there are still expectations. They are not going to change because we have a quality program in place.
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