BY AARON SNYDER
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
Dave Wheeler didn’t leave Russell for Boyd County without first leaving a recommendation with the school’s administration.
Wheeler thought an assistant he’d brought on board two years ago would be the perfect fit for the Lady Devils’ softball team.
As it turned out, Terry Callihan is a quite popular pick.
“(Wheeler) encouraged me to apply; past players and past parents reached out to me and encouraged me to apply,” Callihan said. The 42-year-old learned last Friday that he is taking over the program. Joe Bryan, the school’s AD, announced the decision on Monday. “I’m highly excited, and I believe the girls are excited,” Callihan said.
Callihan has a step-daughter — Rylie Cook — on the team. She’s a senior.
“You’d never know I had a daughter on it, though, because I have 18 daughters on the team,” Callihan said. “I hold them accountable the same, treat them the same. I try to create a family atmosphere to where everybody is treated the same.”
Several players took to Twitter to post celebratory reactions to Callihan’s hiring.
Three standout starters — Sara Hieneman, Annalee Miller and Alexis Maynard — graduated, but Callihan is eager to get the returning Lady Devils back on the diamond.
Russell went 27-11, falling to Ashland by a run in the 16th Region Tournament opening round, last season. It scored 400 runs, by far the most in the region. Much of that hard-hitting, qualitybaserunning lineup is back.
“I definitely think we’re going to be one of the more talented teams in the region,” said Callihan, a 1992 Russell graduate. “I truly believe it’s the best softball-coaching job in th region, with the support behind the scenes to the parents to the kids.”
Callihan is the general manager at Air Extreme Heating and Cooling.
“I was torn at first because I help run this business, and it’s tripled in size in three years,” Callihan said. “Could I do the girls justice?”
Callihan said Air Extreme hired another salesman to help alleviate some of his duties and stress.
Callihan said he as “coached pretty much my whole adult life,” from Little League to travel ball to middle school.
“Softball is improving every single year,” he said. “That’s attributed a lot to travel softball. Softball is growing across the region, the state and even the United States.”
Callihan said working with Wheeler and assistant T.J. Maynard over the last two seasons has been beneficial.
“I appreciate everything Dave’s done,” Callihan said. “Every year he’s assigned us (Maynard and Callihan) more responsibility.”
The responsibility department has grown once again for Callihan.
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