Katie Sutherland, a former standout women's college softball player, is the newest assistant coach with the Thomson High School Lady Bulldogs' softball program.
The 23-year-old Coach Sutherland, who grew up in Evans and graduated from Greenbrier High School in 2003, will teach biology at Thomson-McDuffie County Junior High School in the fall. Coach Sutherland, the daughter of David and Shari Sutherland, of Evans, earned a bachelor of science degree and has a masters degree in exercise science.
"It feels great to be home in the Augusta area," said Coach Sutherland during a telephone interview last Sunday afternoon.
Coach Sutherland's job teaching and coaching in the McDuffie County School System will be her first since graduating from Tennessee Tech University, where she was a starting outfielder on the women's softball team. While attending Greenbrier High School, Coach Sutherland was an outstanding prep player under former Head Coach Garrett Black, who now serves as athletic director at the school.
"I feel honored to be coaching with a coach who has the same kind of passion that I have about this sport," said Coach Sutherland, referring to Jason Osborn, who heads the girls' softball program at Thomson High School. "He (Coach Osborn) reminds me so much of Coach Black and the way he coached us when I played under him."
Since beginning her new duties, Coach Sutherland has been spending much of her time getting used to the way that things are done at Thomson.
"It's been just great," said Coach Sutherland. "All of the players are so nice and respectful to me. The girls are great to work with. The parents and other supporters have bent over backwards to welcome me. It's awesome, actually."
While attending Greenbrier High School, Coach Sutherland also played on the varsity girls' basketball team, along with her older sister, Lindsey, who like Katie, played multi-sports.
At Tennessee Tech University, Coach Sutherland was a starting outfielder her last three years.
"I mostly played center or right," recalled the newest member of the coaching staff at Thomson High School. "I had a great time playing softball at a Division I school."
Coach Sutherland said her aim is to help take the Lady Bulldogs to the next "stepping stone" in their quest to become champions.