Watson resigns as Southmont's head softball coach

NEW MARKET — Southmont is in search of a new head softball coach after Jennifer Watson stepped down last week following two seasons at the helm.

“I’m going to miss it,” Watson said. “There’s not a doubt in my mind that I’ll miss coaching. And I went back and forth for a long time, but I do feel in my heart that it’s the right thing to do.”

Watson is the stepmother to three and also has 2-year-old son of her own, and was hit hard this spring season when she noticed the amount of family events she missed while fulfilling her duties as a varsity coach. 

Watson took over as the head coach at Southmont in July 2015 when Britney Carpenter took the head job at Crawfordsville. Before that, Watson was Carpenter’s assistant for the 2015 season.

“Greatly appreciate Jen’s dedication and leadership within the program,” Southmont Athletic Director Aaron Charles said. “We hope to find someone that cares and works hard in developing our players as athletes and as individuals. We hope to have the position filled as soon as we believe we have the right person.”

Southmont went 18-9 after Watson’s first year running the program in 2016, and the Mounties finished 8-6 in the Sagamore Conference.

This year Southmont was 17-9 and 8-6 in the SAC to tie Tri-West for third in league play. The Mounties went on a short run to begin the postseason state tournament in May. Southmont beat Cloverdale 3-1 in the first round of the IHSAA Sectional, and beat Monrovia 7-6 in the semifinal before losing to South Vermillion 12-3 in the sectional championship.

Watson’s decision to step down now isn’t a permanent decision, though. She plans to return to coaching sometime down the road.

“I hope that’s the case,” Watson said. “I hope right now I can just focus my time on the kids and my husband and then down the line, I hope that the opportunity presents itself again to get back into coaching. I absolutely love coaching and I love the sport.”

But it was a hectic spring season for Watson. Missing all of her stepdaughter’s middle school track meets, leaving for work before her 2-year-old son, Colton, woke up and getting home after he went to bed weighed on her. And when her family’s home caught fire from a lightning strike during spring break in March, Watson said she got to thinking about what she considered most important.

“I started to think, really, around the spring break point of what is really important in life,” Watson said. “Just realizing more than anything that it’s family, doing what makes you happy, and being a mom and being a wife is what makes me happy.”

The house wasn’t ruled a total loss, but Watson and her family have been living in a rental while their home is gutted and remodeled. They hope to move back into it in August.

No specific timetable is set to fill the head coaching position, but whoever will take over next will step into a program that’s solid right now.

“I think pretty highly of our team,” Watson said. “I think that right now, Southmont softball is only going to get stronger.”