Posted: 10:11 am Friday, May 17th, 2013
By Jeff Greer
Kevin Drake did just about everything a high school softball coach can do in three years of service: Three district titles, three regional titles, three state titles.
And after three years of winning, Drake’s done at American Heritage. He officially made public on Thursday his resignation as the Stallions’ coach, a week after his senior-laden 2013 squad clinched its third consecutive state championship. In a letter to the Post, Drake said he tendered his resignation to the school last Friday.
“It has been a great three years,” Drake wrote. “In my world, it is all about the girls in this program. All the players for the last three years have been exceptional on and off the field. I will miss every last one of them. For the ones that remain, I hope they carry on the softball tradition.”
Drake’s teams were 68-21 over his three seasons. In 2011, Heritage was considered a dark horse at the state tournament before ripping off back-to-back one-run thrillers to win its first state title. Last year Heritage was the favorite at state, cruising past former district rival King’s Academy in the semis and northern Florida power Jacksonville-Bishop Snyder in the final. By 2013, Heritage was a state power, regularly ranked among the top five or 10 teams in the state. They won the state championship, again against Bishop Snyder, in dramatic walk-off fashion.
American Heritage should return several key pieces of its 2013 state-title run, including third baseman Jessica Mohl, second baseman Ashley Niesman, catcher Toni Pancione and first baseman Casey Estes. Drake’s replacement hasn’t been made public, but sources indicated Heritage would promote assistant coach Al Simpson, who has two daughters on the team.