The new school year is inching closer and Yukon athletes will have three new head coaches when the year opens in August.
Katy Hoke, Jamie Tate and Ryan Rennels were named head coaches in the Yukon athletics department at Monday’s school board meeting.
Hoke will be the head coach for softball, Tate will be the head coach for boys golf and Rennels will be the head coach for girls golf.
Hoke takes over the Millerette softball program after Heather Shanahan resigned from the post to pursue other opportunities.
Hoke is no stranger to the being the head coach of the Yukon softball program. She was the interim head coach in 2016 when Shanahan was maternity leave. Hoke led the Millerettes to the semifinals of the 6A state tournament.
“I’m excited to take this on as my own,” Hoke said. “When I was the interim coach a couple of years ago, it was still Coach Shanahan’s program. Now, I will be able to put my own touches on the program. Coach Shanahan did a great job but everyone is different and does things different, so I will have some differences in my program.”
Hoke does not have a lot of time to make the transition from assistant to head coach. The Millerettes are scheduled to open preseason practice on Monday. On top of practice coming down the pike, Hoke is trying to replace two assistant coaches: her position and Dakota Haines, who took the head baseball coaching position at Southmoore.
“Trying to find two assistant coaches and confirming our schedule and different dates are my priorities right now,” Hoke said.
She added that having the opportunity to be the interim head coach two years ago will help in this transition.
“It’s different when you are an assistant coach,” Hoke said. “The relationships you develop with your players are different. Two years ago, I started to develop some really good relationships with the girls and I am looking forward to continuing that process.”
Tate takes over the Yukon boys golf program after David Jewell stepped down to pursue an administrative career. Tate was the boys assistant coach in 2018.
“Very excited,” Tate said. “I have always wanted to coach. I reached out last year and was able to get on as an assistant. I was pumped up when I got this opportunity to be the head coach.”
Tate was a four-year letterman golfer at Piedmont High School. The soon-to-be 26-year-old said he is looking forward to bringing a different style of coaching to the boys golf program.
“My style of coaching will be on the individual player,” Tate said. “We will work on different things from an individual standpoint to make each player the best they can be. My goal is not just to win tournaments but to make each individual player a better golfer after they are done playing for Yukon.”
Tate said he understands the importance of the short game when it comes to having success in golf.
“Most of the shots you take in a round are within 100 yards,” Tate said. “The old adage is true. You drive for show and putt for dough. We have to be strong with our short games to have success.”
Rennels takes over the Yukon girls golf program after Patrick Courtney stepped down from his position. Rennels comes to Yukon after being the head boys basketball coach at Union City for the past five years.
“Excited for the opportunity,” Rennels said. “I believe what I have learned as the head boys basketball coach at Union City over the past five years will help me a lot as a golf coach.”
This will be Rennels’ first golf coaching job but he said he believes he will be able to help most with a certain aspect of the game.
“I think I will be able to help with the mental side of the golf,” Rennels said. “I will be able to help keep the girls level-headed and composed when they are out there playing. I have enjoyed playing golf my entire life but it can be very challenging mentally. It’s important to stay composed.”
Rennels said he is excited for the opportunity to come to Yukon.
“My wife and I and really looking forward to this opportunity,” Rennels said. “We live in Yukon and we love it here and we have heard great things about the district.”