Sherrill leaving ACHS to coach at Pfeiffer
NEW CHALLENGE — Longtime ACHS Softball Coach Monte Sherrill has announced his retirement to accept the same position at his Alma Mater, Pfeiffer University. Sherrill led ACHS to eight state titles and has 10 state championship rings as a coach.
(Updated June 3, 12 pm)
By D.N. PENNELL, Jr.
Sherrill leaving ACHS to coach at Pfeiffer
For more than 25 years, Monte Sherrill has been known as one of the most intense, most successful high school softball coaches in North Carolina. In fact, Sherrill’s career record which stood at 753-60 at the end of this past season, is recognized as the top winning percentage nationally.
Sherrill, who graduated from Alexander Central in 1983, and later completed his education at Pfeiffer College, has led 10 teams to State Championships, including eight at his high school alma mater. Now, he is leaving his former high school to take his hard-nosed, hard-working style of softball to his former college, where he is already a member of the Hall of Fame. Earlier this week, Sherrill announced that he is retiring from coaching high school softball and will be accepting the job as Head Coach at Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer.
He has coached high school softball for 26 seasons, leading teams to 26 straight conference titles. Sherrill will take the helm at Pfeiffer on a part-time basis now, until he assumes full responsibilities next February. He will remain on staff at Alexander Central as a physical education teacher until early 2016 when he will retire from the high school scene completely.
‘“If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.’ This quote by an unknown author reminds me of our own Coach Monte Sherrill. Having coached against this man and then later in our career working with him as an educator and Assistant Athletic Director, there is no one any more diligent in overturning every stone to ensure the success of his Softball program,” ACHS Athletic Director Joanna Crew commented concerning Sherrill’s retirement from high school coaching. I have always admired his dedication and passion for his team. Alexander Central wishes Coach Monte Sherrill the absolute best as he begins the next phase of his career.”
Sherrill’s record on the high school diamond is nearly unmatched in North Carolina, the southeast, and across the country. He has won National Coach of the Year honors throughout his days as coach at Alexander Central and Central Cabarrus, and his players are some of the most decorated student athletes in North Carolina softball history. He led ACHS to state titles in 1991, 1994, 1995, and the state’s first fast-pitch championship in 1996. He left ACHS to accept the same position at Central Cabarrus High School, in Concord, in 2004. After four seasons and two state titles with the Vikings, Sherrill returned to his hometown team, at ACHS, in 2008. A former baseball standout for ACHS and Pfeiffer, Sherrill’s return to Taylorsville marked the team’s return to dominance on the softball diamond in 2009. Behind the dominant pitching of Chelsea Wilkinson, now a member of the Georgia Bulldogs Softball Team, the Sherrill-guided Cougars won 4A State Titles for ACHS in 2009 and 2011. After failing to secure the crown in Wilkinson’s senior season of 2012, the Cougars went on a two-plus year winning benge which saw ACHS teams rewrite the state record book from top to bottom.
ACHS won the state title in softball in 2013 and 2014 and ran off a state record 95 straight wins before losing in the fourth round of the state playoffs this season.
The 95-game win streak spanned more than 800 days and broke a streak held by Sherrill’s Central Cabarrus team in 2007. That streak ended at 83 straight wins in Sherrill’s final game as the Vikings coach before his return to Taylorsville.
Now Sherrill, who has three daughters, two who will be on the Pfeiffer roster next season, will see if he can work the same magic with hard work and toughness in Misenheimer.
Pfeiffer is a member of the Conference Carolinas League and plays on the NCAA Division II level. In 2015, the Lady Falcons played 50 total games, finishing 27-23 overall and 11-9 in league play under the direction of former Coach Chris Vullo. The team finished sixth in its conference this past season.
Sherrill, who will be joined at Pfeiffer by the North Piedmont Player of the Year Vada Sherrill and Pitcher of the Year Kiana Millsaps, is currently scheduled to coach his first college game next February when the Lady Falcons take on the Catawba Indians in Salisbury.
"As I sit here today, I wonder where in the world the last 26 seasons have gone. Man, what a great ride. Looking back at the first teams I had, starting with Traci Carrigan Fox, I wonder how those players ever survived those practices. Danny Dyson and I started at JC Park and it was USMC boot camp all over again. The foundation of our program now had set its teeth in those practices of 1989, and we are bearing the fruits even today. AC Softball has never been about finesse, but it’s about out-working, out-playing and being more disciplined than the others. Through the years of maturation and seasoning, I feel that my ability to see the talent and develop it has increased ten fold. I am ever striving to be the best coach in strategy and technique. I WILL out-work any coach to get better on a daily basis, striving to keep the theme of 1% better every day.," Sherrill said in a prepared statement on Tuesday.
"I have always fallen back on the philosophy of the Marine Corps. Each season we strived to build a unit that was greater than its parts. In earlier years, the majority of players had the same mentality. We seldom had issues with "it’s all about me" thinking because kids were raised to work together and focus on the team. In the past five years, parents have allowed an environment of individual exploitation, excuses for everything and anything goes if it highlights my kid. Coaches in today’s world fight this battle every day. The Life of a "Coach" has changed dramatically in the past few years. I am proud to say very few AC kids put "ME" in front of "WE are AC"."
He continued, "I grew up here, poor and with a severely mentally handicapped brother. I had a lot of external motivation and figured the only way I could compete with my peers was to give 100% on each play. I gave my all every day and identified with hard work, crazy hustle, and a passion to win. My sports idol was Pete Rose. At times, my drive has needed to be tempered, but I had an intense burn to be the best coach, and in turn, produce the very best teams. I owe so much of the success over the years to a group of highly dedicated players and assistant coaches. Our players have given their all in every practice. I am so proud of the kids who have made this world a better place because of their foundation as an AC softball player. Our players respect the flag, and all the women and men that served to protect its values. When you really get down to the nuts and bolts of what the last 26 years are about, it has nothing to do with ball. Sure, we have a lot to be proud of: we had the greatest softball streak in our State’s history, we have built our field into the Nation’s best, our GPA was tops in the country and we finished as National Champions with success unparalleled in winning percentage. But it’s about being prepared every day, never having an off day and when it’s not a good day, making it one. It’s been about striving to be the best as an individual, but never being above the team. It’s about doing your job regardless of whether you like it or not, and doing it to the very best of your ability with great passion. I love my players, but they have not always liked me. My job was to be their leader and push them to be their best." In closing, the coach commented, "I owe so much to this county, my parents, and Becky. AC is known for furniture, textiles, tobacco, apples, and its unique tight-knit community. I have always tried to have our program represent the county and be a sense of pride in all of us. I hear daily from AC people around the nation when they see the USA Today every Thursday. There it is... Alexander Central, Taylorsville, NC. Central Park is the hub of all this activity. It has been my home away from home. The Lord has blessed me and I give Him all the credit. I am glad I serve a Lord who sees all my faults and still accepts me and forgives me. The wins on the field have been many, but I know my greatest victory was accepting Jesus as my Savior."
Former players, coaches reflect
“I personally think Monte is one of the best high school softball coaches in North Carolina history. I have a great deal of respect for him. What he has accomplished and the success he has had is truly amazing. You can say what you want to about the guy, but he was still willing to help a young guy like me who is still trying to make a name for myself and it takes a big man to do something like that. So, if you question his character DON’T. I would have loved to have him as my coach!” - South Caldwell Coach Casey Justice
“Congratulations on your retirement and thanks for all you have done for our sport and the impact you have had on the many players you coached over the years. I wish you the very best in your future endeavors, and most of all, many years of good health. Enjoy each day.” - University of Arizona Head Coach - 8 time NCAA Champion Mike Candrea
“Coach Sherrill is a legend in our sport. He is a champion that has shown us how to win. And in doing so, he has shown us how to instill discipline, toughness and teamwork into our programs. His accomplishments are remarkable and his leadership has set the standard that all softball programs should try to emulate.” - Texas A&M Associate Head Coach Gerry Glasco
“Monte Sherrill is a tremendous coach, motivator, and teacher. He has impacted the lives of so many players and has taught them character, confidence, and perseverance.” - University of Tennessee Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly
“I had the privilege and honor of being a Lady Cougar under the leadership of Coach Sherrill during my freshman and sophomore years at ACHS. I have a little laugh with myself when I think of all the blood, sweat and tears I shed...but no doubt, that in every drop, I became a little tougher, learned another life lesson, and loved the game a little deeper. At such a young age, Coach Sherrill taught me life lessons that went with me to college (in the class and on the ball field) and followed me into my professional career. He allowed me to be a part of a family that worked together for a common goal - day in and day out - in order to be the best!
My Coach Sherrill’s Top 15 (in no particular order):
1. Commitment - Always 110%
2. If you are on time, you are late. If you are early, you are on time. Be on time.
3. Practice like you play, play like you practice.
4. Self respect & respect for others
5. Green light, Red light, Yes, No! Get in the Zone!
6. Excellence and Execution
7. There are different types of leaders: those that lead by example and never have to open their mouths to make an impact and those that lead verbally with words of encouragement and constructive criticism. It takes both.
8. Wear your uniform with pride, every time, everywhere you go!
9. Always be ready, always be prepared.
10. Embrace the “controllable” and do not let the “uncontrollables” affect you.
11. The other team doesn’t care if you had a bad day...No excuses!
12. JC Park (enough said)
13. Mechanics, repetition, perfection
14. “Take off” --- Running poles does make you better
15. And for old time sake.....ROTATE!!!!
Coach Sherrill - - I am very grateful for experiencing two seasons with you and for getting to watch you coach at AC from the other side of the fence. Thank you for instilling in me a work ethic like only AC fastpitch players understand, for giving me the opportunity to make friends for life, and for memories that I reminisce about often. A job well done!” - Leah Krohn Wiley #15, ACHS Counselor, Class of 2004
“Since playing softball for Coach Sherrill, there have been multiple occasions where I have thanked him for making me who I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I have had great parents and leaders in my life, but he has taught me about the things that truly matter in life. Be on time (or you will run poles), with dedication and commitment one will succeed (pitch in the sleet and keep running poles with broken fingers), and wear the name proudly (because he was always watching us). This man is not likely to be matched by any other. He is not only a coach but he is the most inspiring person I have ever met. He taught me about life. You will win a lot and lose a little, but a true Monte Sherrill softball player will always go down with a fight, whether it be on or off of the field. I hate to see him go. He has always been a role model and friend to me. In some of my life’s toughest battles, Coach Sherrill has showed up to continue to encourage me, just as he did the four years I played for him. He takes his players under his wings for a lifetime. Coach Sherrill, the legend you have left will never be matched. I wish you the best as you take it to the next level. Thank you for all you have ever taught me about the game and the game of life!” -Chrissy Sipe Stewart #11, ACHS Class of 1999 Registered Radiologic Technologist, Iredell Memorial Hospital
Monte Sherrill's Coaching Career
• 10 State AAAA Softball Championships
• Alexander Central – 8 State AAAA Titles • Central
Cabarrus- 2 State AAAA Champs
• 2005 National High School Coach of the Year – NFCA
• 2010 Inaugural Class of the NCSCA Hall of Fame
• 2014 NFCA National High School Champions 35-0 Record
• 2014 National HS Coach of the Year – NFCA
• 2014 National Coach of the Year – National HS Coaches
• 2014 National Coach of the Year - MaxPreps
• Recognized by the NFHS as highest active winning
percentage in the nation
• 25 - 23-win seasons (NC only allows 23 regular season
• 26 of 26 Consecutive Conference Championships
• Sweet "16" in state tournament - 23 seasons
• 22 Conference Tournament Championships
• 61 players have received some type of softball
• 24 Conference Players of the Year and 28 High School
• 15 straight years of "NC Scholar Team Status"
• 2012 – Top Weighted Grade Point in the Nation (NFCA)
• 2013 – Second in Weighted Grade Point Average in the
Nation ... 4.29
• Charlotte Observer – Coach of the Year -2000, 2004,
2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014
• Member Pfeiffer University Sports Hall of Fame (2013)