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Words of Wisdom from a 25-Year Veteran Coach

Making it 25 years is a benchmark that anyone should feel proud of, whether it’s in a career, a relationship, or in Janet Oglesby’s case, a coaching tenure.
Oglesby has been fortunate to coach softball for that many years at the high school level in Georgia, with the first 14 years at Harrison High School and the last 11 years at South Paulding High School.
Oglesby, who played college softball at Georgia Southern, was the inaugural coach at South Paulding and has guided them to the state playoffs five times, including a trip to the Elite Eight (2013). 

Oglesby feels an immense amount of pride as South Paulding has established itself as a perennial contender.

“There were a lot of challenges like trying to get facilities, money for things that when you’re an established program you don’t think about compared to when you’re starting a program,” Oglesby said. “You’re just kind of setting the expectations for a program that has none. We like to set high expectations. It’s all about character, hard work, and fundamentals.”

Oglesby was able to share some advice and lessons learned from her two-and-a-half decades on the bench. What got her into coaching was simply a love of the game.

“Growing up I always played several sports,” Oglesby said. “My family was always into sports. I actually went a different route in college with a business degree in marketing but really always wanted to teach and coach. So I decided to go back so I could do that.”

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Seeing what her players have achieved has been her greatest reward in coaching.

“I always enjoy seeing our girls move on to the next level when they have that goal. It gives you a good feeling as a coach because you’ve watched them for four years trying to get to it. Also, when we went to the Elite Eight in 2013, I’ll always remember the reaction of my players because they’d never been in that atmosphere.”

For Oglesby, her job as a coach doesn’t end with the final out. She strives to impart life lessons as well and be their mentor both on and off the field.

“Nowadays they just have a lot of things going on as far as other activities. We’re not only coaches, but we’re on top of their grades and all sorts of things. We wear a lot of hats as a high school coach. The challenge is to help them maneuver through their challenges and pressures while wearing different hats at different times. 

“I’ve been very fortunate to stay in contact with a lot of former players. They’ve grown into young women and just seeing their success is just a neat thing to see.”

Oglesby stresses the importance of learning to her players, since a major part of coaching is teaching. 

“Always be willing to learn. No matter how long you’ve been coaching or playing there’s always things you can learn. I know that I’m a different coach than I was years ago. I love to go to clinics. I love to talk to other coaches and just try to see how to do things different and see what’s been successful. I think as a player and a coach you have to always be open to change. You have to always want to seek out more information.”

While softball may have changed in 25 years, Oglesby has strived to keep goals for herself and her players high. 

“The game has changed since I started coaching but as time goes on you don’t change your absolutes and expectations but you have to go about some things differently to get the same result.”

From GameChanger and Rolando Rosa.

Softball, Softball Player Development