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The LaRue County High School softball team has a new leader. Aaron Howell was named the new head coach of the Lady Hawks last week.
Howell will leave behind a coaching position at North Hardin High School to come to LCHS. He will replace Mielle DiStefano, who is leaving LaRue County to become a school counselor in Metcalfe County.
Howell has been the varsity assistant coach for North Hardin’s softball team since 2006. Before that, he was the JV/freshmen baseball coach at NHHS. He has also coached the Louisville Stunners, a summer traveling team for the past two years.
LCHS Athletic Director David Dawson believes these experiences will make Howell an asset to the LaRue County school system.
“He comes highly recommended,” said Dawson. “He’s very respected among his peers. He’s been successful wherever he’s been. He’s ready to be a head coach.”
The success includes a region championship for NHHS’s JV baseball team in 2004 and for NHHS’s softball team in 2006 and 2009, as well as two tournament wins for the Louisville Stunners.
Dawson called Howell an “integral part to the success at North Hardin softball.” He said that Howell is hardworking, communicates well and has high standards for his players.
Howell said this coaching job is something he’s wanted for quite some time, and he’s excited to finally take on the role of head coach.
“I played baseball in high school, so I love the game. Since I got into softball, I really love it, too. It’s a similar game (to baseball) and I can’t get enough of it.”
Howell said that he’s most looking forward to “working with the girls and seeing them get better and have fun.”
Dawson and the LCHS administration were very pleased with Howell’s past successes and his ability to work with a team.
“(Principal) Mullins and I were really impressed with his softball philosophy. Coach Howell can take the talent that we’ll have this year and be a region contender. There’s no doubt in my mind about that,” said Dawson.
Howell said that a big part of his game philosophy does, indeed, include a trip to the regional play-offs as a top priority.
“We have good core players and I think we have a good shot at winning the regions ... that will always be a goal of mine.”
Howell’s game plan includes instilling positive relationships between the girls on his team with their parents and the community, something he considers essential for success.
Howell plans to create an atmosphere for fun, and introduce drills and practices that are new and challenging.
Another component of Howell’s philosophy especially appreciated by Dawson was Howell’s emphasis on and involvement with younger players and leagues in the community. Dawson said that Howell is very “hands-on” in that he gets involved in the feeder system and helps to develop players that may be a part of LCHS softball down the road.
Howell said that this is crucial for the future success of the team. He plans to establish a strong relationship with middle school and recreational softball teams in the area, in hopes of incorporating similar philosophy and language into their practices. This way, young girls will be prepared for his coaching methods as they enter high school.
“LaRue County is excited to have him, and we look forward to having him for years to come,” said Dawson.