Kent Pickens is starting his 16th season as coach of Durant High School softball.
His Lady Lions have never had a losing season and, after a 13-11 initial campaign, have posted 14-consecutive 20-win seasons.
That’s 14 seasons of at least 20 wins. Pick’s overall record is 379-198 (65.7%).
Pickens started the DHS program and has been the only coach over those 577 games and no telling how many practices and days spent working on the field, which was basically a vacant lot when he started.
He is coming off a heart attack that required three stents, one on April 30 and two on May 23. He has been back at work since June 9.
Yes, there might be a correlation there.
The 2008 Lady Lions are already practicing and will scrimmage Plainview at 10 a.m. Saturday at Durant’s Multi-Sports Complex.
That’s not the highlight of the day, however.
The Varsity-Alumni game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday and Pickens is expecting a bunch of former players to be ready to go.
Pick’s daughter is a senior and there is a possibility this could be his last year as head coach.
There is also a possibility it won’t be his last year.
“I feel good,” Pickens said, “and I have a totally new perspective on coaching. I used to think it was life and death and now I know better. A heart attack will do that for you. I’ll just have to see how things go this year.”
Anywhere you find a coach, you will find pressure, much of it self-imposed. That pressure on Pickens has been eased somewhat the last two years with the addition of Kristin McNeece, a former Southeastern player.
This year, Pickens will have McNeece and former SE teammate Rachel Lynn as assistants.
McNeece and Lynn were four-year players at Southeastern who combined for a 245-109 (69.2%) record.
McNeece’s four years saw an overall record of 162-72 (69.2%) and Lynn’s teams were 172-75 (69.6%).
McNeece (third base, first base, pitcher) belted 11 home runs and drove in 116.
Lynn (outfielder) had nine homers, 97 runs batted in and 128 stolen bases in 151 attempts for a sizzling 84.8%.
Coach Ron Faubion’s SE LadyStorm posted a school record for single-season wins with a 53-12 mark in 2008 and missed the NCAA D II World Series by one victory as Lynn hit and ran her way to Louisville Slugger/NFCA first-team All-America honors.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to get somebody from the Southeastern program to help,” Pickens said.
“This really makes a difference. I don’t have to explain the game to them. Kristin is in her third year and knows what I want. Rachel is in her first year, but she certainly isn’t a rookie and will fit in perfectly.
“I plan to let them do my yelling and screaming for me this year.”
Fans are invited to come out Saturday for the scrimmage at 10 a.m. and the Varsity-Alumni game at 6 p.m. There is no admission charge and a great crowd would be a bonus.
Just in case this is Pick’s final year.