GIRLS GOLF: Richards steps down at Fort White
FORT WHITE — With her daughter set to begin playing golf at Columbia, Tammy Richards knew it would be too difficult to continue coaching at Fort White.
Richards has resigned as Fort White’s girls golf coach after just one season, where she helped lead the Lady Indians to a runner-up district finish and a regional berth in the program’s inaugural season.
Both of her daughters will be going to school in Lake City this upcoming year, with her oldest Peyton Gainey joining the Columbia golf team. Her younger daughter Karlee, who played for Fort White as a sixth-grader, will be enrolling at Lake City Middle but also plans to join the team in 2021.
“My children are moving to go to school in Lake City and my oldest daughter will play for CHS so I can’t really coach one team when my kid is going to be playing on another team,” Richards said.
She thought about continuing to coach at Fort White but Richards ultimately decided it would be too difficult with her daughter at another school. Instead, she’ll serve as an assistant under her brother and Columbia head coach Todd Carter. His daughter and Richards’ niece, Tiara, will be a senior on the team.
Richards says Carter will coach his final season and she plans to take over for him in 2020. But she admitted she’ll miss coaching the Lady Indians, who exceeded expectations in their first season.
“It honestly broke my heart that I had to leave there after we built it up and we got a team and we did so well,” Richards said. “I’ve been trying to find somebody to replace me but I haven’t had too much luck at the moment. I even thought about continuing to coach there without (my kids) there but with me going to try and take over next year at Columbia, I thought it was best for me to work with my brother and the kids because I know all the kids that are going to be playing this year. There’s quite a few ninth graders coming up so that way I can be with them from start to finish when they graduate.”
Fort White athletic director John Wilson says he hopes to fill the position sooner rather than later but hasn’t had any applicants yet. He knows whoever it is will have big shoes to fill in Richards’ absence.
“She did a great job. She did an awesome job,” Wilson said.