While he cherished every season and made the most of his role as coach of Augusta's girls soccer team, Monty Rowland felt it was time for someone else to take the reigns.
But the transition was made easier for Rowland when he knew he was leaving the program in good hands. Casie Davis has been named the new girls soccer head coach, a decision officially approved by the Augusta School Board during Monday's meeting.
Joining Davis will be Crystal Hall, who will be the team's assistant coach.
"It's time for a change, and it was a great thing finding two women with college experience to fill the positions," Rowland said. "They can push [the girls] in ways I can't. Casie's going to be demanding, which is good for the girls."
For Davis, this is the big opportunity she's been waiting for.
"It's what I've always wanted to do," Davis said.
Davis has played soccer since she was 4 years old. She played at Maize High School, got recruited by Central Missouri and played there a semester before transferring to Ottowa University to finish her career. She has coached 10- and 11-and-under girls league teams at the Y and has coached college camps.
"I've had a lot of experience with different coaches and different styles of soccer," Davis said, "and I think that has benefitted me because I can share my knowledge with the girls."
While turning around a girls program that has had some struggles of late, Davis wants to prepare the Orioles for playing at the next level.
"I just want the girls to get some confidence in themselves, build us up," Davis said. "It's going to be a year of working on things to become a better team, so we're going to go back to the basics, just working on the little things."
Davis and Hall already got a chance to work with the girls at summer camp a couple weeks ago. She said several girls already have come up to her and told her how excited they are to play for her.
Davis said she met Hall in May, and they had the same goals and worked well together immediately.
"We found all these weird connections with each other over the summer," Davis said of. "We both played soccer in high school and college. We both knew we wanted to coach."
They both will be 5th-grade teachers at Garfield Elementary this year.
As for Rowland, he had personal reasons for stepping down, as well.
"I've got a granddaughter coming in," he said, "not this year but the following year and I don't want to ruin that relationship. I know how hard it was on my kids coaching all of them."
Page 2 of 2 - Rowland still will coach the boys team for the upcoming season, but he'll have a grandson coming to the high school team in a couple years, as well.
"The girls have been a lot of fun," Rowland said. "And it's not just the girls, but the boys, the kids are the fun part about it. Watching them grow as they come in as freshman and as they leave as seniors, it's fun to see where they're at. Not just with soccer, but with everything else."
Rowland will remain involved with youth soccer. His wife Angie is coaching a 14-and-under girls team that plays in Wichita. While it may hurt the Augusta Youth League, Rowland said he'd like to see a club team started so, in the long hall, the program can be competitive with area teams whose coaches these days have started demanding their players to compete in club soccer.