After three years in East Texas, Lufkin head softball coach Shelby Elkins is stepping away from the program.
Elkins confirmed the news Thursday afternoon.
"I will be going to Abilene Cooper as an assistant volleyball and softball coach," Elkins said. "I am not leaving because I am unhappy with Lufkin. Even though there were ups and downs this past season, that has nothing to do with me leaving."
Elkins said the decision to move out of Lufkin came down to family.
"I met my husband Andrew when we were both at Cisco [Junior College]," Elkins said. "He has followed me everywhere. When I got the job here, we packed up and were down here in three days. He did that for me. I told him that if there was an opportunity that arose for him and something amazing fell in his lap then I would do it for him."
According to Elkins, a recent health event in their family occurred and Andrew was given control over a large piece of land in Rotan, a small community about an hour from Abilene.
"He will be overseeing about 9,000 acres of land," Elkins said. "They have deer leases and multiple cabins that he helped build with his family when he was in college. He will be overseeing all that along with the hunts that happen out there. There is also a portion of the land with crops and even cattle. We will be able to now be two hours closer to our family in Fort Worth."
The decision was not easy for Elkins. The incoming seniors where just freshman when she was hired for the position.
"I started with Leah Akridge and Lexi Rameriez," Elkins said. "They were my babies. I wanted to see them through my senior year. I would have been able to be here and help design the new facility that we just got thanks to the passing of the middle school bond. We were competitive in a tough 6A district and we were going to dominate the new 5A district we are going into. I would have loved to have stayed and retired here, it is just that family comes first."
In her three years with the program, Elkins led the team to three playoff appearances including a district title in 2016 along with an appearance in the 5A regional final.
"Shelby has created a expect to win attitude here at Lufkin high school in our softball program," Athletic Director Todd Quick said. "Her willingness to out work all others has spilled out into our girls. They expect to work hard and expect to win. She has made a huge impact on the girls."
Quick said the department was notified last Thursday of the decision. Elkins met with the players on Wednesday.
"We will look to find the coach that will continue her forum of thinking and work ethic," Quick said. "We will find the Coach that will take care of our kids, make them do right in the classroom and on the field."
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