WARNER ROBINS – About a year ago on this exact day, it became known that Lee Kicklighter was leaving Union Grove High School and heading to Houston County.
Well, we’re about a year removed from the decision he made and the news for Kicklighter now is that he’s leaving Houston County High. But the reason why isn’t for a new school or a new opportunity, it’s for a much different reason. There is so much that’s forgotten about the high school coaches that mold the minds of young kids, so we sat down with Kicklighter to discuss what changed suddenly after a 24-11 Lady Bears campaign.
The Decision Kicklighter was shouldered with
The words that stick out during the chat with Kicklighter are logistics and always family. There was some difficulty for Kicklighter to coach and commute to the school and then pick his now aging children up from school. He’s a true family man at the end of the day and that’s where the decision comes from.
“Putting family first will always be the goal,” Kicklighter said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to do both for a long time.”
Now don’t think this is Kicklighter’s swan song and he’s leaving softball forever, he’s already said that he won’t be completely away from the sport and he’s already squashed the rumors that he’s retired.
“I still have a lot of passion for it,” Kicklighter said. “Houston County was a great program and had a lot of support from faculty, administration and the community. I told the girls of my team in the middle of February of my decision. It was tough for me and I’m gonna miss them.”
There is something that he left behind with Houston County that’s going hard to be very hard coach. Potential. Kicklighter says that will be the toughest thing for him to leave behind.
“I’ve been fortunate to have early success,” Kicklighter says with a smile. “Hopefully I will get the chance to do it again before I retire officially. I definitely think coaching is still on the table.”
The departure from the team though will also leave another thing behind as well. Coaches will always have a bunch of what-if’s in mind, Kicklighter believes that every coach by nature has a lot of those moments in a season. However, when it comes down to teaching future generations he does admit it’s tough.
“The reason is,” Kicklighter said thoughtfully. “Is that you actually want the best for all involved parties and you give up and sacrifice a lot. Some of those parties involved appreciate your efforts more than others. It’s those people and that reason that you still do it. When one is able to see the big picture, then you can understand.”