By Greg Ford
WYLIE — It wasn’t that long ago Amy Southern and Courtney Flanary were working together to produce a winning softball program.
That was back in 2008-’10, when Southern was an assistant coach at Flower Mound Marcus, and Flanary was one of the Lady Marauders’ top players. Now, seven years later, the duo is back together, this time with Southern as Wylie East head softball coach, and Flanary as her assistant.
Together, they’re looking to turn around the Lady Raiders’ fortunes and guide them to a place they’ve never been: the playoffs. This past week, they guided East to a 9-8 come-from-behind win over Mesquite Poteet on April 4, a victory that kept them on the cusp of playoff contention (top-four finishers). However, they then fell 11-8 last Friday to Royse City, which dropped East to 5-5 in District 15-5A, but still within reach of fourth place.
“One of the things they told me when I became a head coach was that I could
bring in my own assistant, and Courtney immediately came to mind,” Southern said. “We kind of always joked about it, when she was in high school, that after she went off and got her degree, I was going to make her my assistant coach when I became a head coach. It was kind of cool to be able to actually do that.”
For Flanary, it’s her first high school coaching job after playing four years of college ball, one at Sam Houston State and the rest at Abilene Christian.
She remained at the latter as an assistant coach for one season before coming back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where she was a softball instructor at a training facility.
“It’s been awesome,” Flanary said. “I and (the coach) have a good relationship. We were close (at Marcus), and had a good, fun relationship. I was really excited that she thought of me to be her assistant. It’s been a good transition for me; we have a lot of fun out here with the girls and each other.”
Flanary credits Southern with improving her mental approach as a player, and making softball the most enjoyable part of high school.
“She taught me that softball practice should be something that every day is fun,” Flanery said. “Southern is hilarious – all the girls will say that — she has real good sense of humor. I just remember having that relationship and thinking the world of her when I was in high school.”
From a coaching standpoint, Southern said Flanary was “very competitive,” and could be depended upon to do the right thing.
“She never tired, and even if she did, she was never going to stop,” Southern said. “She was a role model for her teammates, and the kind of model athlete you want to coach.”
As an assistant coach, Flanary said she’s learning a lot from Southern about what goes into the game off the field, specifically the things that go on “behind closed doors.”
The teaching works both ways, Southern noted.
“We did form a friendship when she was a player,” she said. “She has gotten older, and I have gotten older. It’s an adult relationship now. She brings a lot (to the job), and she has a lot of softball (experience), especially from the college level. She’s teaching me things every day, so it’s great to be able to work with her.”