The new face of the Marvin Ridge High softball team is no stranger to the county. Tim Speakman will take over as head coach of the program starting in the Spring of 2022, according to Marvin Ridge athletic director Tom Jamerson.

Speakman will replace Jeff Stovall (109-34 overall record), who led the Mavericks to six playoff appearances, a conference title in 2019, and their first regional title appearance. Marvin Ridge finished 12-3 in the Spring of 2021, placing second in the conference and falling to Jesse Carson in the first round of the 3A state tournament.

The Mavericks had two seniors on their 14-player roster, according to MaxPreps.com.

From 1994-1998, Speakman was the head softball coach at Port Charlotte High School in Florida before taking the same role at Gulf Coast High School in Naples (2000-2003). After brief stints at Appalachian State and Palmetto Ridge High School (also in Naples), Speakman took over at Ave Maria University from 2010-16.

He guided the Lady Gyrenes to a season-best 30 wins in 2014.

He brought his talent to Parkwood High and guided the softball team to its first state title in 2017. Speakman compiled a 68-11 record and won two conference titles in four seasons at Parkwood. He also coached football (11-23 record from 2017-19) and served as co-athletic director at the school.

Along with his coaching duties, he will also teach health science at Marvin Ridge.

On Monday, the Enquirer-Journal spoke with Speakman about his new coaching opportunity and his expectations for the program.

Question: How do you feel about returning to coach softball with a different county team?

Answer: I’m excited. I really am. I walked away to take care of some health issues as well as spending time with my family. Being out of coaching for a year and being away from the student-athletes really made me want to come back. I felt as though for the past year, it did not serve me a purpose. I wanted to make sure I got back into education in some fashion as well as coaching. Mr. Jamerson reached out to me (in August) about the softball job. I sat down and talked with him and the committee. I’m very excited to be back.

Q: Have you met with any of the incoming and returning players from the Spring 2021 season?

A: I’ve met with all of them. That was one of the first things I did when I got the Marvin Ridge job. I had a meeting with the players and their parents. We sat down and talked about my expectations, what they can expect from me, and what I can expect from them. Throughout the Fall, we have been doing skill development drills. I had a great opportunity to really get to know them a bit.

Q: What are some expectations that you have for the program in the 4A division?

A: There are always challenges. When you had the likes of Cuthbertson, Marvin Ridge, Weddington, Piedmont, (the Southern Carolina) is one of the toughest conferences in the state of North Carolina. I am used to these types of challenges and the only way you’re going to meet these challenges and be successful is hard work. We’ve already put some hard work in this offseason during the fall. I’m up for the challenge and I know our girls and coaching staff are also up for the challenge as well. We’re excited to continue to try to get better every single day.