After serving almost a decade as Denison’s softball coach, Ashli Wigington has stepped down due to the spilt nature of her coaching family.
The decision comes just as the school year starts and wasn’t planned until an opening at DeSoto, where her husband Jeff is an assistant football coach, was available earlier this month.
“It’s been crazy. It’s been a whirlwind two weeks,” said Wigington, who was second in tenure only to boys soccer head coach Scotty Voight at Denison. “It’s been an emotional roller-coaster for me. I loved Denison. That’s where our kids were born. It’s where I got my first coaching and teaching position.”
The family aspect is what led to Wigington taking on a phys ed teacher-only role. The past school year saw Jeff commuting back and forth to DeSoto while Ashli continued her role with the Lady Jacket softball program. It was a strain on their 6-year-old son Cale and 4-year-old daughter Lanna.
“Our kids were suffering with him being down there. Football is seven days a week,” she said. “The kids were missing out on Daddy time.”
However, the plan going into August was to continue the same set-up for another school year. And then things changed.
“We knew if something came available I would have to take it, just based on the situation we were in last year,” Wigington said.
Athletic director Chad Rogers is expected to have the position filled within the week.
Wigington led the Lady Yellow Jackets for nine seasons, compiling a 135-143 record and three playoff appearances. Denison was 17-12 this past spring and tied Sherman for fifth in the 13-4A standings, three games back of a return trip to the playoffs.
The Lady Jackets made the postseason in 2012 with a fourth-place finish before losing a bi-district series against Hallsville. It was the first playoff appearance since 2006, when Denison went 19-10, won the district title and reached the region quarterfinals for the best run in school history.
In 2005 the Lady Jackets won a play-in game over Denton for third place and finished 21-13 after a 3-2 bi-district loss to Fort Worth Brewer.
Wigington was a volunteer assistant for Denison’s 2003 playoff appearance in her first year with the program. She replaced Kevin Warren, who was the first softball coach for the school, after that season.
Wigington came to Denison after a standout career at Oklahoma, where she was a two-time All-America selection and four-time Big 12 choice at catcher in helping the program win the 2000 national title. She graduated as Oklahoma’s career home run and RBI leader and now ranks third and second, respectively, in those categories.
The Lady Jackets lose four starters to graduation and will have up to seven players with starting experience in next year’s potential lineup.
“Having those girls for four years, it’s hard to think about anyone else coaching them,” Wigington said. “It’s hard to get a hold of.”