Jenna Russell is the new Macon County High School girls softball coach, having the interim removed from her unofficial title June 15 at a news conference at the school library.
After former coach John Conditt resigned in the midst of last season, Russell became the interim coach and the team finished 24-11 last year when it fell to Upperman in the District 7-3A Tournament at White County High School.
“She did a wonderful job the last few weeks of the season,” MCHS principal Daniel Cook said. “Once again, she’s homegrown, just like Kailyn Thompson, and that’s what we want,” referring to Thompson, an MCHS graduate who was announced the same day as the new girls basketball coach.
Russell played basketball and softball at MCHS. She graduated in 2017.
“I’ve known Jennifer a long time,” athletics director Bev Shoulders said. “The running joke with she and my husband, who is a basketball official, is don’t get too close to her or she’ll foul you. She was a go-getter when she played basketball and softball. She gives it 110%.
“I watched her coach toward the end of the season when she took over this team, and she had that same mentality. Exactly what we want here at Macon County High School. Someone who is passionate about the sport and this school and the community. Again, we feel like we’ve hit a home run so to speak with these two positions being filled locally.”
Russell was reluctant to get into coaching. She turned down an assistant coaching role twice.
“I didn’t get into coaching the most traditional way,” she said. “But as it happened last season, (Cook and Shoulders) were both there for me the entire time to help me, support me, talk to me, show up at the games when I was the interim coach. I thought my softball uniform got hung up back in 2017. I told (Conditt) no the first two times he asked me. I finally agreed to it and I’m so glad I did.
“I love what I’m doing, I love being around the girls. I am young, but I’m very excited, we have a lot of talent on our team, and I think there’s a lot of new incoming talent coming in, so I’m very excited to see what we can do this year.”