BELFAST — Though the Belfast Area High School softball team has a new head coach for what will hopefully be a 2021 season this spring, the new coach is a familiar face to Belfast area athletics.
Sara Bryant, formerly Sara McIntire, has been tabbed as the new head varsity softball coach, taking the reins of the program she once played for and has been coaching with since 2008.
In addition to coaching within the softball program, including as the junior varsity team’s coach over the years, the 2001 BAHS graduate is also the field hockey coach for Troy Howard Middle School.
Under Bryant’s guidance, the Troy Howard field hockey team, since 2014, has amassed a 60-0-1 record and eight consecutive Busline League championships.
“Honestly I was indecisive,” Bryant said when asked about her desire to apply for the open softball position, noting her daughter is a soon-to-be eighth grader and Bryant did not want to miss seeing her daughter participate in track meets.
“Once I heard that [head coach] Jason Fuller was not going to coach I thought long and hard,” she said. “I love the girls and with everything going on in this crazy world, [former head coach] Chris [Bartlett] leaving [in 2019], and not having a season [due to COVID-19] I wanted them to have a sense of normalcy with our softball family. I already have a great bond with the girls so moving forward will be smoother.”
As the program’s new head coach, Bryant, who played four years of college softball at Husson College (now Husson University), intends on creating a strong, family bond for the young women.
“My greatest memories as a player when I was in school was being part of a team,” she recalled. “I want them to have fun yet motivated and determined to work hard. You work hard, you play hard and we will get the results we want at the bottom of the seventh inning.”
Despite the 2020 spring season scrapped amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bryant is confident the team will be able to feed off the momentum the program felt back in 2019 when the program won its first playoff game.
“The energy that reflected off the girls was amazing [and] I want to keep that energy going,” said Bryant. “We had six practices this summer and both JV Softball Coach Mike Savage and I are super excited.”
Bryant noted the team has some talented players on the roster prepared to shine, should their be a season.
“We will be a force and no team should take us lightly,” said Bryant. “We will keep our fingers crossed that we will have a season. We need it! The girls need to show their talent.”
As for the future of the program, Bryant is hoping to return softball to its former glory within the local community, much like the field hockey program currently is.
“Belfast is a field hockey town — I know because I am part of that family too,” said Bryant. “There is no reason why we can't be a softball town too! Softball used to be a big part of the community. I grew up at Friendship park and Molison Field as a kid. Both of my parents were in the modified leagues so pretty much every night we were at the field. That was our family. We were a community. I would like that for the girls and the Belfast community to be a part of that. We need some fans in the stands to cheer us on.”