Staci Rodriguez may not be a familiar name to the Port Allen High School softball program, but she’s no stranger to the PAHS athletic program.
The new head coach for the Lady Pelicans has worked as an assistant coach in volleyball and powerlifting, but softball is new territory for her at Port Allen.
She replaces Alisha Butler Fairchild, who left after six seasons at the helm of the Lady Pelican program.
Rodriguez realizes the change in the top coaching spot may be an adjustment for both her and the players, but she’s confident of a smooth transition.
“This is a new area for me, and these are new girls for me to work with,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve coached volleyball, but this is a whole new set of girls and we have to get the hang of each other, and the girls have to get used to my coaching philosophy.”
Rodriguez, 32, is a native of Crystal City, Texas, two hours south of San Antonio and 45 minutes from the Mexican border.
She played softball at Texas A&M and transferred to Texas A&M International in Laredo, where she graduated in kinesiology.
Rodriguez has also served as an assistant coach in volleyball, softball and basketball at Crystal City High School after she earned her degree.
“This is not my first rodeo,” she said.
Rodriguez said her goal is to continue upon the path Fairchild guided the program, which culminated in a share of the District 8-2A championship with Episcopal last season.
The Lady Pelicans reached the second playoff round last season, a benchmark the program achieved only twice in its history.
“Coach Fairchild left me a very good program, and my goal will be to keep it moving the same direction,” she said. “I’m very excited about our prospects as a team.”
The immediate goal for Rodriguez would be to take the program to an event only 20 miles from the eastern border of her home state.
She aims to guide the program to its first-ever appearance in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Fast Pitch 56 Tournament in Sulphur.
“I’m super excited about working with this program, and I think we go a long way,” Rodriguez said. “We can hardly wait to get started.”