Armuchee baseball coach Andy Henderson has enjoyed watching his daughter’s love of sports grow over the years.

Now he’s stepping into a new arena thanks to her inspiration.

Henderson recently was named the new Armuchee softball coach after his daughter, Megan Henderson, encouraged him to apply for the position. Megan Henderson is a junior at Pepperell High School.

“Having a daughter and watching how much she cares about the sport and how much she puts into it and how proud of her I am — now I’ve got the chance to see that desire up close and personal and see how far we can take it,” Andy Henderson said.

“I’m just super excited. I’ve been watching the girls’ sports at Armuchee since I’ve been there, and their determination to win amazes me. When the chance for the job came open I jumped on it, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Henderson replaces longtime coach Shane Arp, who is only stepping down from coaching duties and will remain a teacher at Armuchee Elementary School.

Henderson said he wants to have a hand in leading the team back to the state softball tournament. The Lady Indians last made it to the tournament in 2017 when they lost to eventual state champion Rockmart in the second round.

“He’s done a good job,” Henderson said of Arp. “I got to see their run to Columbus. They’re some big shoes to fill, but I want to bring the experience I’ve had mainly with baseball.”

Henderson comes into his new job with an extensive background in coaching baseball. He played college baseball for Jacksonville State University and began coaching for the Gamecocks after he graduated.

He was then the head coach for Pepperell from 2000-03, before becoming an assistant baseball coach at Shorter University from 2004-15. He began coaching the Indians’ baseball team in 2016, replacing longtime coach David Honea.

“I’ve been talking to college softball coaches,” Henderson said. “Pitching is where I’ve been talking to a lot of college coaches. I’ve coached baseball for well over 20 years, and I’ve worked with a lot of girls in the past on hitting. Defensively, infield and outfield, I’ve done all that stuff throughout the years. I want to take that knowledge and bring it to the field.”

The Lady Indians ended this past season with a 9-10 record overall and a 6-8 record in Region 7-AA. With the new GHSA reclassifications taking place next year and the Lady Indians dropping down to Class A Public, Henderson knows it’ll be a tough road.

“It’s a new experience for me and it’s a new challenge,” Henderson said. “I know the girls just have that determination and will to win. One thing I told the girls is I don’t expect perfection. I just expect the relentless pursuit of perfection. I want to try to get them back to Columbus, especially in a tough, tough new region.”

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