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Health issues prompt coach to resign

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Wayne Weatherford will concentrate on CAAA

By Steve Waters

One of Chiefland High School's most beloved coaches has officially resigned from his position. Wayne Weatherford stepped down from his post as softball coach last Tuesday, citing health issues. "Maybe it's just a good time to step down," Weatherford said. "But I can be really proud of what I accomplished at Chiefland." Weatherford coached at Chiefland High School for 18 years and was a key figure in building the softball program into a dominant force the past couple seasons. He specifically mentioned a three-year district title run as a highlight. Chiefland finished 25-1 in 2007, losing to Miami Gulliver Prep 4-0 in the final game of the year. Chiefland was the last public school in the tournament that year. That season, Weatherford was selected as a runner-up for the Coach of the Year award that year, and his daughter, Megan, was selected as Player of the Year for 3A. Chiefland followed up that season with a 27-3 performance. Weatherford softball coaching career record is 227-85. Weatherford sat out this past season with health problems. Most recently, he was in the hospital with a blockage in his liver that also affected his kidneys and pancreas. Though he said he's doing much better, Weatherford said he didn't want to commit to a full season when he wasn't sure he could be 100 percent. "That's just not fair to the girls. They deserve better than that," he said. Weatherford said his best memories will be of all the girls he helped in life, both on and off the field. He said he has been coaching many of the girls since they were 12, playing for the Babe Ruth league. He mentioned Amie Biehl, a 2010 Chiefland High graduate who will play at the College of Central Florida scholarship, as someone he was very proud of. "She touched my heart," Weatherford said. "She was in my wife's third grade class, and it is just so great to see what she has accomplished." Ginger Fuller took over for Weatherford this past season. The Indians finished the year at 20-4, and a perfect 14-0 in District 5-2A. Chiefland advanced to the regional quarterfinals last April. Weatherford said he will now focus more on working with the Chiefland Area Athletic Association. He said CAAA is now developing into a varied outlet for youth and adult sports. CAAA now offers programs such as adult softball, T-ball, little league, youth football and more, and Weatherford said he wants to continue to be a part of youth sports in the area. He also said if his health improves, he wouldn't rule out a return to coaching. "Just for now, I want to take a break," Weatherford said. "But in a few years, who knows?"