Winning softball coach moves west with family.
by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
WAKE FOREST — Ready to move on to another chapter in his coaching life, Doug Kinsman has resigned as the head varsity softball coach at Wake Forest High. His 13 seasons can be counted among the school’s best on the field.
Wake Forest-Rolesville’s softball teams went 285-64 during his tenure, and included 12 consecutive conference titles and 12 straight trips to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A state playoffs. Three of his teams have played for the state title, including this past year’s squad, which finished as 4A state runners-up.
More than 20 of his players have gone on to play at the collegiate level.
His teams also started a conference win streak that started in 2001 and lasted for 143 games and 12 seasons before losing to Heritage High this season.
Sam Hershey, who has been an assistant softball coach at Wake Forest High for nine years, will replace Kinsman.
Athletic director Mike Joyner announced yesterday (Wednesday) that Hershey will be the Cougars’ next coach.
“We felt that his years of experience with the program were key with moving forward with naming him as our coach,” Joyner said. “I have no doubt that he can continue to keep our program at the high level it has seen in the past.”
Kinsman is moving on to Wasatch High School in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he has accepted a position as the head varsity softball coach.
“I had been thinking about retirement this year,” Kinsman said. “My wife and I have been talking about moving out west for the past couple of years.”
“We are both avid snow skiers and outdoors people and love the type of lifestyle that living in the Rocky Mountains will bring,” he added.
Kinsman said they were planning on making the move in the next couple of years but everything came together this spring and the timing was right.
His wife, who is employed with the Department of Justice, will be working at the United States Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City.
Kinsman informed his team of his plans at the softball banquet, according to rising senior Delane Smith, who plays second base for the Cougars.
“We all knew it was going to happen; it was just a matter of when,” Smith said. “He had mentioned something about it last year.”
Smith said Kinsman will definitely be missed but is happy that Hershey is taking over.
“Coach Hershey knows the game well and I am confident that we will do well next season and be a hard team to beat,” she said.
Kinsman said he had a tremendous run while coaching the Cougars.
“I will take so many great memories with me to Utah and I have been very lucky to have been associated with such a fine group of student-athletes from Wake Forest.”
“I will miss them dearly and will always cherish my time here,” he added.
Kinsman will be remembered as the guy who took the Cougar softball team to unparalleled heights.
In his first year, his team won just one game.
“At the time we thought it was a victory for the team if we could play seven innings,” Kinsman said. “We paid our dues early, took some lumps and went to work into building one of the best programs in the state.”
One of Kinsman’s greatest memories was the night his team was playing for their 100th victory.
“We just happened to be playing against our crosstown rival, Wakefield,” he said. “The girls were so nervous and the place was packed with media and television cameras.”
“We were lucky to beat a very scrappy Wakefield team and come out on top, 1-0,” Kinsman added. “It felt like all of the pressure in the world was raised off of our shoulders. However, it just got more and more intense as the victories kept coming.”
Then there was the recent come-from-behind win against Leesville Road.
The Cougars, playing at home, were down 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
“We had two outs and nobody on when Kiah Ruffin started a rally with a bunt that saw her come all the way around to score,” Kinsman said.
A couple of hits and a two-run single by Allison Scarboro got Wake Forest-Rolesville the win and crushed Leesville Road’s hopes of ending the win streak.
“There were some great memories, but those two games to keep our streak alive were amazing games to be a part of,” Kinsman said.
Creating a new legacy
Heritage High School softball coach Paige Quate played for Kinsman and was a part of the Cougars win streak and a member of the first Eastern Regional Championship team under Tom Cabral when Kinsman took a two-year break from the program.
“I am sad to hear that he is leaving Wake Forest but I know that he is going out west to become a ski bunny, which has been something he has always wanted to do,” Quate said. “He has had a very successful softball career and he is going out on top.”
“The program that he developed has benefitted softball as a whole in the Wake Forest area and the number of girls interested in playing softball has increased and the level of play has also increased,” Quate added. “I know that Wake Forest will continue to be a strong softball powerhouse.”
Kinsman credited his assistant coaches, Hershey and Jennifer Cummings, for playing a big factor in the program’s success.
“I cannot say enough about the help that I have had along the way from my coaching staff,” he said. “Without their help, I do not know if we would have been as successful as we have been.”
Kinsman also included Wakefield assistant softball coach Mark Downing, who coached with him during the state championship run in 2005.
“Mark was with me when the streak first started in 2001 and was the man who was behind the first Wake Forest travel team that led to our girls playing year-round,” Kinsman said.
“Without those three coaches, I do not think I would have taken the team to the places we were able to go,” he added. “I would also like to thank all of the parents who have supported me throughout the years.”
The five-time Conference Coach of the Year is inheriting a Utah team that finished third in their conference this past season.
“I am excited about this team,” Kinsman said. “They have a great feeder program where they have three younger teams that all play together in the summer and will all be attending Wasatch High School.”
Joyner acknowledged Kinsman’s departure was a big hire for Wasatch High.
“I only got to know coach Kinsman briefly,” Joyner said. “Obviously when you look at what he did here it leaves some big shoes to fill.
The run of the conference championships — not to mention the conference winning streak — is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in high school athletics.”
“I really enjoyed watching his teams play the small amount of time I was able to and he will be missed,” Joyner added.