By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
North Laurel has named Kyle Mink as successor to Becky Osborne as coach of the state’s winningest softball program. Mink was officially announced at a ceremony Tuesday at North Laurel High School.
“It’s an honor and a privilege taking over the winningest program in the state of Kentucky. I feel like I have a lot to bring and I’m just excited to get to work,” Mink said.
Mink graduated from North Laurel in 2002 after a successful baseball career with the Jaguars. He went on to play baseball at University of the Cumberlands. Mink did not jump right into coaching after wrapping up his college career. He did spend a lot of time on the field and on basketball courts as an official. The past two years he has served as an assistant coach for the South Laurel baseball team.
“I think my work ethic, enthusiasm, and motivation will be a good fit to get us back on track of winning state titles,” Mink said.
The Lady Jaguars are coming off an uncharacteristic season. Last season North Laurel finished 23-13 in the second year under Osborne. They lost to South Laurel 7-6 in eight innings in the finals of the 13th Region Tournament. A streak of six straight trips to the state tournament ended. Osborne stepped down on July 18 due to her husband being transferred from his job. The former Kentucky Miss Softball and member of the Kentucky Softball Hall of Fame finished with a 61-20 record in two seasons.
Mink said he became interested in the job as soon as he heard Osborne had resigned.
“I had always thought of returning (to North Laurel) and this was a good opportunity to get back to where I graduated from and get back into a great program,” Mink said.
Mink has not named the rest of his coaching staff. He plans to wait until school starts this week to begin rounding out a coaching staff. He has been able to meet with many of the players.
“They all seem very excited, anxious, and ready to get going,” Mink said.
North Laurel graduated six starters last season, including pitcher Megan Baldwin and shortstop/ leadoff hitter Sidney Herrell. Also gone are catcher Blake Johnson, third baseman Emily Sears, center fielder Vanessa Smith, and first baseman Farris Strong.
The most experienced players returning will be a trio of talented sophomores in Mikayla Vires, Kailin Yantz, and McKenzie Mills. There are currently no seniors listed on the 2014 roster.
“I think the core group we have coming back is young and they have worked really hard this summer to get better,” Mink said. “We’re just going to work hard and get after it.”