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Former successful head coach returns to again lead Central York High softball program

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
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  • Shane Walker has returned to again lead the Central York softball program.
  • Walker coached the Panthers from 2014 until 2016, compiling a 60-8 record.
  • Walker has been an assistant coach at York College for the last five-plus seasons.
Shane Walker

EMIGSVILLE – Shane Walker has been involved in athletics for as long as he can remember.

He coached football and officiated softball before making the switch to coaching softball. He’s done a lot since 1988.

Most recently, the Indiana native was on the staff at York College for the past five-plus seasons.

A coaching change at York, however, left Walker in a state of limbo.

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That is, until he got word that the head-coaching position at Central York High School was opening up.

Walker, who led the CY program for three seasons from 2014-2016, didn’t hesitate to jump back into the scholastic level for a program that he helped build a half decade earlier.

“The school actually let me know that there may be an opportunity last summer,” said Walker, who was 60-8 during his three-season stint at Central. “And I was really anxious to have an opportunity to come back and work at Central York.”

So far, in a small sampling size, Walker’s return has been a success. The Panthers are 3-1 after a 12-1 win over Red Lion on Monday, with the only blemish an 8-6 setback against rival Northeastern.

“Northeastern played a very, very good game against us,” Walker said. “I thought our ladies played very well, but we still have opportunities to grow and learn and I think that was a great opportunity for us (to learn from).”

Smooth transition: The transition back to the high school level has been relatively smooth so far thanks in part to some lessons that Walker learned while assisting Jen Petteys at York College.

“Coaching is as much about relationships as anything,” he said. “The ladies need to trust that I’m in it for the right reasons and that I have their best interests at heart, and we’ve come a long way very, very quickly.”

Like all coaches, a major measuring stick for Walker is the team’s record. While Walker obviously owns a very impressive one himself, the new Panthers skipper is less concerned about wins and losses than one might think.

“Success is measured in a lot of different ways,” he said. “For me, it’s about becoming a better team player and a better person and learning how to do the right thing. This group of ladies that I have are just absolutely phenomenal.”

Praising assistants: As happy as Walker has been so far with his squad, he sounded equally as enthused about the handful of assistants he’s surrounded himself with this season.

“Coach David Eckman and I have been coaching together for many years,” Walker said. “We started out coaching JV together and then worked up to varsity together. I’m so thankful he came back because he is an absolutely great mentor. He’s truly dedicated to trying to do what is right for these girls.”

Walker similarly gushed about the volunteer assistant Steve Butler, whose daughter played for Walker years ago.

“I coached his daughter, Rachel, so it was really an honor when he wanted to be part of (the staff),” Walker said. “He commented on how he appreciated how we approached things with the ladies and wanted them to try to understand the bigger picture to develop as a person, not just as a softball player. So, his desire to want to join us was quite frankly a little awe-inspiring for me, to know that we made an impact like that.”

Busy week: Walker and his program are in the beginning of a busy week.

Monday's win over Red Lion will be followed by games vs. Dallastown on Wednesday, Spring Grove on Thursday and Exeter Township on Saturday.

Dallastown (5-0) is No. 1 in the District 3 Class 6-A power ratings and Exeter Township (4-1) is No. 4 in 5-A. Central currently is sixth in 6-A.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.