Former Hartselle softball player to stress fundamentals as new head coach
By Zane Turner
For the Enquirer
New Hartselle High softball head coach Anna Hall said she wants the players at her alma mater “to do the little things right” so that they become strong contenders again for state championships.
“Whether it be moving a base runner, getting them in scoring position, putting a bunt down, little things that could possibly make a difference in the game” will be stressed, said Hall.
A former Hartselle player, Hall, 32, was selected as the new head coach last month after being an assistant with the program since 2014. During her tenure as assistant coach she was a part of the 2014 and 2018 Hartselle teams that won state championships. She played on the 2008 Tigers team that was Class 5A state runner-up.
She replaces Christopher Reeves, who left the program in May. Under Reeves the Tigers had a combined record of 85-25-2 with two area championships over two years. In 2022 they went 51-9-1 with state Gatorade Player of the Year Larissa Preuitt, who had a strong season at the University of Alabama as a freshman this spring. Hartselle went 34-16-1 last season with the support of pitcher Blayne Godfrey, who committed to Auburn. But in both 2022 and 2023, Hartselle failed to advance out of the North Regional to the state tournament.
Hall said she knows the bar is high for Hartselle’s softball program.
“The goal is to win a state championship; ever since I’ve been coaching that has been the goal,” she said. “We have a … group of young girls that work hard every day, and they have high expectations for themselves.”
Hall said she wants to give back to the community of Hartselle.
“I went to Hartselle, I graduated from Hartselle. I always wanted to be a teacher and coach, and that is why I went into education. I had such a great experience in Hartselle that I wanted to come back to coach and teach here and hopefully make a difference,” Hall said.
Hall played shortstop for Hartselle until graduating in 2009 and went on to play at Calhoun Community College. After finishing her playing career at Calhoun in 2011, she served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Lady Warhawks softball team during 2012 and became an official assistant coach in 2013, all while attending Athens State. She was an assistant at Hartselle under Christy Ferguson from 2014 until Ferguson was removed from the position midway through the 2021 season. No reason was ever given publicly for Ferguson’s removal. Hall then served under Reeves the next two seasons.
Hall said she not only wants to be a good coach but a role model for her students and players. She realizes the position she is walking into and said there are “high expectations, but if I want to be successful I have to hold myself to a high standard anyways.”
She’ll also try to be a positive leader, and instill leadership skills in her players.
“I think being a servant leader is a big thing, not relying on someone else to do something for you but taking ownership,” she said.
Pat Smith, the Hartselle athletic director, said he has confidence Hall can be successful as head coach.
“We watched her grow and develop in that role (assistant coach) and were very confident in giving her the head coaching position because of the actions we have seen out of her really in the classroom, very good science teacher,” said Smith. “Also her coaching ability on the field we have seen it, watched the kids respond to that and just felt she could do the job, do it well and to the caliber Hartselle expects.”
He said after missing the state tournament for the past two years, the players’ “desire is to be back in that state tournament with a chance to win that state championship.”
Hall’s experience as an assistant on state championship teams played a role in her hiring, Smith said.
“Something that is a big plus with Anna Hall is her integrity. She is a good person that people look up to, that kids respect. She is going to do things right and with the integrity anyone would expect a high school coach to display. Nice people don’t always equate to good coaches, but she’s going to do what she said she’s going to do,” said Smith. “I don’t have to worry about that program getting in trouble in any kind of way, I don’t have to worry about kids misbehaving. … I don’t have to worry about her or her coaching staff misbehaving.”