Since 2000, when Ray Aguirre took over the softball program as head coach, the Orioles have won two state championships and finished runner-up once.
Now, 13 years later, that era has come to a close. Aguirre has resigned as Augusta's head coach and has taken the head assistant coaching position at Friends University.
“It’s the hardest decision I think I’ve ever made,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre had been the pitching coach at Friends the past six seasons, and will retain those duties in addition to first-base coach as the assistant coach.
“If I didn’t do this now, I wouldn’t have a chance to get a head coach job someday,” Aguirre said.
For Aguirre, getting his first coaching position with the Orioles was a huge opportunity. In return, he created one of the more successful programs in the area.
“I’ve been extremely blessed with 13 years of great kids and great parents," he said. "I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. It turned out to be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If it hadn’t been for Mr. Hillier and Mr. Law giving me the opportunity, I wouldn’t be at Friends.”
Aguirre started his first season with Augusta's softball program with a 1-9 record. The Orioles then won 10 straight games to close the regular season, three games at Regionals and three games at State to bring home the team's first-ever championship. Aguirre finishes his career at Augusta with 193 wins (nearly 15 wins per season, including postseason), two state titles, a state runner-up title, and had several All-League and even All-State players.
"They've made me look awful good for 13 years," Aguirre said.
Aguirre had help. Now-assistant coach Nancy Nordman joined his staff his first year and has been with the team ever since.
“She’s the glue. She’s always been the glue. We wouldn’t have done what we’ve done without her,” Aguirre said of Nordman.
Aguirre still wants and plans to coach the summer team and help with clinics and camps in Augusta.
The coaching position has not been posted as open yet. Check back as details of new coach candidates emerge.