When she first arrived at Ledford five years ago, Allison Lyerly was sort of a softball coach-in-waiting.
The waiting, as Grammy-award winning singer Kenny Loggins might have put it, is over.
Lyerly was recently named the varsity head softball coach at Ledford, replacing longtime coach Charlie Brown.
"I'm super excited," Lyerly said. "But I'm sure going to miss Charlie Brown. I've learned more from him than just about anybody that I've coached with. He is an amazing coach and an amazing man. He's been a great mentor and a friend to me. So I'm going to miss him greatly."
The whole deal has been in the works from the beginning. Brown, who will remain as an assistant football for the Panthers, had been thinking about relinquishing softball at some point.
That's where Lyerly came into the picture.
"She's been with us a while and she's been working with Charlie through the whole process," said Ledford athletic director Donald Palmer. "...It worked out kind of well."
And the new coach is ready to go.
"I'm looking forward it being my program," Lyerly said. "Charlie put it into place."
Catlyn Moser was also named as an assistant softball coach.
Brown built a powerhouse during his tenure, which dates back over 15 years. Some of his best teams happened to coincide when county and conference rival Central Davidson won three straight state championships.
The 2008 team played undefeated Central to a 3-2 game in an epic Central Carolina Conference tournament championship. Central went on to win the state championship.
"We had the second-best team in the state that year," Palmer said.
Ledford was 7-6 last season. The Panthers were 20-7 in their last full season, in 2019, when they were third in the CCC.
The Panthers will return a veteran team in their first season in the 3-A Mid-Piedmont Conference.
"I've got seven or eight seniors," Lyerly said. "I'm looking forward to it. I think the girls are excited. We're getting ready for the season."
Three of Lyerly's seniors have signed letters of intent to play softball in college, with Sophia Conger going to Concord, Averee Atkins going to Radford and Zalma Ontiveros going to Lenoir-Rhyne.
"Charlie put in a lot of work with them and these kids have worked extremely hard to get to this point," Lyerly said. "I know they're super excited to play at the next level. I'm super excited for them as well."
Mike Duprez can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 218 or email@example.com. Follow Mike on Twitter@LexDispatch_md.
This article originally appeared on The Dispatch: Allison Lyerly is excited about taking over as Ledford softball coach