St. Al softball, basketball coach Savannah Buck leaving for job at ACCS
Published 8:24 pm Friday, February 3, 2023
When she took over as St. Aloysius’ softball coach in 2019, Savannah Buck inherited a struggling program at a low ebb.
Her first roster only had about a dozen players and far fewer wins than that over the previous four seasons. She steadied the ship and brought the Lady Flashes back to respectability, and now it’s time to hand the reins to someone else.
After four seasons as St. Al’s softball coach — as well as two as its girls’ basketball coach — Buck is leaving the school to take over as the softball head coach at Adams County Christian School in Natchez.
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“It’s only been five years but it feels like a lot longer. I think it’s just because of how much we’ve done and how different everything is from when we started to now,” Buck said. “The program started with a bucket of balls and 12 girls. It’s grown into something that I’m proud of. Last year was the best year we’ve had since we entered MAIS. I feel like it’s a good time to move on. I think they understand the philosophy that I’ve tried to put in, and they can take that and keep building the program into something even better.”
Buck said there were also some other reasons for heading south to Natchez. She has a growing business there giving private softball lessons, and has friends and family in the area she’d like to see more of.
“I’ve built a small business down in Natchez with my pitching and hitting lessons. I’ve worked with my girls for several years,” she said. “The opportunity came about, and they offered it to me, and it was kind of the right place at the right time.”
Buck finished her second season as St. Al’s girls’ basketball coach this past week, when the Lady Flashes lost in the first round of the MAIS District 3-5A tournament.
Although softball is her passion — she grew up playing the sport in Georgia and all the way through college — she said she enjoyed working with her basketball players as well as those on the softball roster.
“The memories and relationships that have been created within this (softball) program will not be forgotten. Basketball was the same,” she said. “We set goals, we worked on fundamentals over and over in both sports and the girls got better. I did what I wanted to do in both sports and that’s all I can ask for, and I’m proud of what we accomplished and I’m proud of every single player.”
Buck’s last day at St. Al is planned for Feb. 10.
Moving immediately, she said, will help her get her feet under her at ACCS and her offseason program up and running. The Mid-South Association Independent Schools’ softball season starts in late July.
“I’m really excited to bring this type of softball down there,” Buck said. “The community of softball is huge down there. To be able to build my business up and teach these girls the things I’ve been taught is going to be amazing.”
As she heads south on Highway 61 to Natchez, Buck said she feels like she’s leaving St. Al’s softball program in a better place than when she arrived.
St. Al won two games in four seasons before Buck was hired in the spring of 2019. The 2022 Lady Flashes won nine, and had about 30 players on the roster. She even worked through a severe facial injury after taking a line drive to the face during a private workout in July 2021.
Buck said she was also proud of the work she’d put in to create interest in the program among younger players through camps in Vicksburg. Nearly 50 children attended a youth softball camp last summer at the Betty Hearn Foley Complex.
“I sat down with (former St. Al athletic director) Mike Jones five years ago and told him my plan. I wanted to build the girls up and make them the best that they can be. I feel like we’ve done that,” Buck said. “I feel like we’ve made a home for the Flashes. The girls have done an amazing job. We’ve built the program up and it’s one of those times I want to transition to something else so I can build toward my long-term career goals.”