Coffee County Softball Coach Steve Wilder Resigns

Steve Wilder talks to his team on Tuesday prior to the opening game of the 2017 TSSAA state softball tournament.[File photo]

“We had planned on being here forever.”  Those were the words of Coffee County softball coach Steve Wilder on Thursday night shortly after informing his team of his impending resignation.  Coach Wilder is resigning to accept a job as the new head softball coach at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Wilder told his team following Thursday’s elimination from the state tournament “to make sure they did not hear it from someone else” said Wilder.  “It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made”, said Wilder as he and his wife Jackie have been the Lady Raider coaches for the last 2 years.  “We prayed and prayed and prayed and went to bed crying, but we feel like it is where the Lord is leading us”, added Wilder.  The Florida job offer includes a substantial raise which “will allow Jackie to retire” said Wilder.

Pine Crest School is a private school with campuses in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.  In addition to being the head softball coach, Wilder will teach a weightlifting class and be over the grounds and facilities for both campuses.  Pine Crest has a strong academic tradition and is rated as one of the best academic schools in America.

Pine Crest reached out to him through a former colleague from his days in Dyersburg.  “They invited us down to talk to us in February and I thought that would be the end of it”, said Wilder.  “Looking up in the stands this week (at the state tournament) and seeing the support made the decision even tougher.  I just want to thank the school, the players, the parents and the entire community for their incredible support.”

Coffee County Central High School principal Dr. Joey Vaughn indicated that the search for Wilder’s replacement would begin immediately.  “I can’t begin to say how much we appreciate the job that Steve & Jackie have done here at Coffee County.  They came to a strong program, with high expectations and tradition, and built on that foundation”, added Vaughn.