WASHINGTON — It really wasn’t all that long ago that Alan Lemon enjoyed racing his 1955 Chevrolet at regional drag strips.
He now may have time to try his hand at a race or two in the future.
Lemon retired this spring after coaching softball 23 years for Washington. He will remain as an instructor at the Twin Rivers Automotive Center for one last year.
After that, well the Chevy may be driven once or twice again.
Lemon started at Twin Rivers in 1990 as an instructor. He had worked at a local auto dealership as a mechanic for several years, leading him into the field of instruction.
He had also spent a year or two coaching sons and daughters in youth baseball, softball and football programs as well as at the high school level.
When Washington started a girls’ softball program in 1991, they asked Lemon if he would like the job.
He said sure, for a year until another person could be found.
When the second year came around and no one had stepped in, Lemon said he would stay on another year.
Obviously, that turned into not just a second year, but over two decades of coaching experience.
“I’ve had a lot of good coaches that helped me in that time,” Lemon said. “I’ve had a lot of good players that went off to play in college. I’ve had a lot of good help in that time. It wasn’t just me.”
Slow pitch softball had been played, but fast pitch was a new game. Lemon said teaching the fundamentals of the different game, especially pitching, was the most difficult part of the job.
“We had to develop pitchers because slow pitch had been played,” Lemon said. “It was also difficult in the beginning to just teach the fundamentals of the game, It’s different than slow pitch and that was just something that we had to do.”