End of a Successful Era: Rachel Smith resigns as softball coach at Piedmont

Rachel Smith hugs her daughter Savannah following the Lady Bulldogs’ final game of the season against Plainview at the Class 3A state softball tournament in Oxford back on May 16. Smith announced her resignation from Piedmont on Monday morning. Photo courtesy of Joe Medley, East Alabama Sports Today.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

PIEDMONT – Just nine days after being inducted into the Cherokee County Sports Hall of Fame, and less than a month after leading Piedmont to its fourth straight state softball tournament appearance, Rachel Smith announced she resigned as softball coach of the Lady Bulldogs on Monday.

Smith made the announcement to media members via email on Monday morning. She guided Piedmont to a 25-12 season in 2024.

“After much thought, prayer, and discussions with my family, I have made the difficult decision to step away from the position of head softball coach at Piedmont,” Smith stated. “Although I dearly love coaching and the precious people and players in our softball program, the demands of coaching while working full-time have required me to miss out on some special moments and time with my children and family. So, it is time for me to make a choice. Moving forward, I want to be available for those moments with my family.”

One of Smith’s great joys in coaching softball has been coaching her daughter, Savannah Smith. After graduating from Piedmont at the end of this school year, the younger Smith will continue her softball career at Jacksonville State – her mother’s alma mater. Rachel Smith was a standout outfielder with the Gamecocks in 1995 and 1996 – JSU’s first two seasons at the Division I level.

Smith later went on to become the head softball coach at Piedmont High School in 2014. The Lady Bulldogs posted a 39-win season in 2023. Following that season, Smith was named the Class 3A Softball Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

“I’m so thankful for the support and understanding from my family throughout these coaching years at Piedmont. I’m proud that we have established a solid foundation for our program to be successful,” she said. “Successful school programs are built from the ground up. We, as a community, must continue to invest in our youth softball programs, both in travel and recreational leagues. As a coaching staff, we must continue to develop players in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades—for this is the foundation of any successful sports program.”

In her announcement, Smith said Matt Strott will be the new head softball coach at Piedmont.

“He is an excellent choice for the job and I am so confident in his abilities,” Smith said.

“The current players and staff understand the process and the expectations at Piedmont. I will be forever indebted to my family—Steve, Sean, Sloan, and Savannah—the administrators, current and former players, current and former coaches, fans, and the Piedmont community for believing in me to lead Piedmont softball. Leading this team has been one of my life’s greatest joys and an experience I will never forget.”

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