This year, Debbie Skaggs is returning to Samo to coach girls’ softball after a one year leave.
Last year, Skaggs left her coaching position of 24 years to support her son, Tyler Skaggs, who is currently a professional baseball player, a left-handend for the Arizona Diamond Backs minor league team. Skaggs spent the year traveling and watching her son play. Currently, her son is training. Skaggs’ travels have become more infrequent seeing as her return to coaching position has occupied most of her time.
Before Skaggs left Samo to tour with her son, she would drive a total of six hours round trip to watch her son pitch in addition to her coaching position. According to Skaggs, this was the only way she was able to take time off to see her son play professionally.
Skaggs reminisces about her earliest memories with her son on the softball field. He would watch while his mother coached her team. Because of this, he was immersed in baseball culture from an early age. His his innate talent and early exposure led to a passion for baseball.
“You know, my assistant coach always has his five year old grandson hanging around the field. It was the same with Ty,” Skaggs said, referring to her son. “He was always at the field, whether it be baseball or softball, since he was a kid.”
Skaggs admits it was hard for her to let go, but after many conversations with M-House Principal, Larry Boone, Skaggs called an end to her one-year respite and returned to her girls.
Skaggs missed her team and knew it was time to come back to Samo. She wanted to help her team grow as athletes and as individuals, as she did with her son.
“I’m glad to be back,” Skaggs said. “There are wonderful kids on the team. You can’t take time off, these girls need to learn the fundamentals.”
This year Skaggs wants to focus on these fundamentals, going back to the roots of softball. She made note of the girl’s natural talent, but stressed the importance of practicing. She hopes that constant practice will hone their skill and bring the girls’ softball team a CIF championship. The last and first time the Vikings snabed a CIF was two years ago under the tutelage of you guessed it—Skaggs.
“She’s really happy to be back,” Senior Kelly Ricard said. “She’s going back to the roots of softball this year. She’s making it know that we’re not going to settle for Ocean League championships. We’re going big this year.”