A new coach will lead Williamson County softball powerhouse Ravenwood this spring as Cj Pangallo takes over for Kari Akin.
Akin steps down to spend more time with her young children after five years with the Lady Raptors. Ravenwood is a four-time District 11-AAA and Region 6-AAA champion, advancing to the state tournament in 2010.
The amount of history and talent Ravenwood provides is something Pangallo is thankful for from her first head-coaching job.
“Cannot complain about that,” she said. “There’s a lot of natural talent here and it’s nice to have depth to work with.”
Pangallo’s path to a head-coaching job is atypical. She credits her experience running her college’s intramural softball league as the start of her coaching background – running a 150-team league and being responsible for training umpires and supervisors.
“That stuff isn’t really coaching,” Pangallo said, “but it builds your repertoire as far as management of the sport.”
After working in the business world for five years, she got the itch to return to athletics. Returning to school to obtain a Masters degree so she could teach and coach, Pangallo got her start as an assistant at Sunset Middle School for one year prior to being an assistant at Ravenwood the previous two seasons.
Pangallo feels her own experience as a high school player gives her an easy way to connect with her players – being a four-year varsity member at a comparable school in Ohio.
“Just working with them day in and day out helps to know who they are – what their strengths are,” she said. “High school girls can always be interesting, but at least at a competitive level you now the focus is more of team management - getting them to look past themselves and towards the common good of the team.”
With seven seniors returning, Ravenwood looks to continue their reign on the district. The first-year coach repeatedly mentions the squad’s talent level, but does not single out individuals – instead preaching how softball is a team game.
Ravenwood will play in the Commando Classic in Hendersonville March 14-16 before starting district play March 19 at Independence.
Despite only being officially the head coach for a few weeks, Pangallo will be ready for the occasion.
“It’s an honor more than anything else to be considered and then be given the opportunity.”