Troup’s Yeargin finds her calling
Published 8:30 am Tuesday, June 5, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
She figured she’d give it a shot.
Kayla Yeargin had just received her bachelor’s degree from LaGrange College, and she was weighing her options.
Yeargin knew what her immediate future held.
She was going to pursue her master’s degree while working as a student coach for Jennifer Claybrook, the head softball coach at LaGrange College.
“I was going to stick around (Troup County) for a year after school and get my master’s and help (Claybrook) coach,” Yeargin said. “And my plan was to go, and not even be in education.”
When an opportunity arose to be a math teacher at Troup High, though, Yeargin decided to give education a test run.
“Troup High School called and said we have a math position, and I said I don’t really want to be a teacher, but I thought I’ll give it a go,” Yeargin said. “I’ll try it out.”
Yeargin began teaching and coaching at Troup, and she realized that’s what she wanted to do with her life.
Now, nearly a decade later, Yeargin is still at Troup, and she has served as a coach in softball and golf.
“Eight years later, here I am,” Yeargin said. “And I don’t want to do anything else. I’m able to impact lives. And to be able to coach two sports I love is always a bonus. I’m living my passion.”
When a new school year begins, Yeargin’s role will be different than it has been.
For the past few years Yeargin was an assistant softball coach, most recently under head coach Mason Brackett.
Following the 2017 season, Brackett announced that he was stepping down, so there was an opening for the head-coaching position.
“He came down to my room and shut the door and said I’ve got something to tell you,” Yeargin said. “I had no idea. He said I’m giving up softball. And he’s great to work for, and great for the program. So I was a little astonished.”
Brackett’s hope was that Yeargin would become the new head coach, and she was offered the job by athletics director Robert Schweizer.
Yeargin accepted, and when a new season commences in August, she’ll lead the team onto the field as the head coach.
Yeargin takes over a program coming off a successful season.
Troup finished third in Region 5-AAAA last season and hung tough with a strong Northwest Whitfield team in the opening round of the state playoffs.
Now, Yeargin wants to see the program take the next step.
“We don’t want to just make the playoffs,” Yeargin said. “We want to build a name for our program. We don’t want to just be excited to be there. That should be our mindset. We’re going to take those top spots, and that you’re going to fear to play us.”
Yeargin knows what it’s like to be a part of a championship-caliber program.
While at LaGrange College, Yeargin was part of a program that won three consecutive conference titles and appeared in the NCAA Division III tournament three times.
Yeargin played for Jennifer Claybrook for all four years, and it was a beneficial relationship.
“(Claybrook) has high expectations, but she was also able to show us a lot of love,” Yeargin said. “She’s kind of my role model. I’ve tried to emulate her.”
One of Claybrook’s traits as a coach is her unwavering enthusiasm and support of the players, and Yeargin is the same way.
“To be fired up, that’s how I am in all aspects of my life,” Yeargin said. “And I think a lot of that I did get from her. When you have a big rally going, why not rattle the cage a little bit and get everybody hyped up in the dugout.”
Yeargin worked with the players during spring tryouts, and she said “the interest in the program has been superb, which is really phenomenal.”
“The number of girls interesting in the program has made our job a little harder, but I’m happy with that,” she added. “There for a while, we barely had enough to field two teams. To have options is exciting.”
Yeargin has stressed to the players that “nobody is secure in their spot. Everybody is working just as hard. They can look to their left or right and realize I have to work hard.”
Yeargin is also stressing the importance of the summer program, and the players will be getting together a couple of times each week before official preseason practice begins in late July.
“We got a schedule in March that we had planned through August,” Yeargin said. “I know it’s not mandatory, but we look forward to you’re being here. We want them to know what’s coming up. It’s not going to be sprung on you”