Houston's Kayla Kelley high-fives coach Willy Walker following the Lady Tigers' 17-6 district-opening victory against Seymour.

Houston High School softball coach Willy Walker resigned Friday after three years leading the program.

Walker’s resignation was accepted Monday night by the board of education. He was also a world and American history teacher at the high school.

In his resignation letter, Walker said his decision was “partially based on the recent changes within departmental organization relating to my position.”

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Walker said. “I was privileged to be given the opportunity to inspire so many young lives in my hometown.

“It was great to work with excellent colleagues and develop great memories that will last a lifetime.”

Walker, a 1997 HHS graduate, guided the program to its first-ever district victory in 2011. The team finished with a 10-11 record and was a combined 30-31 under Walker.

Walker, who has coached within the middle and high school boys’ basketball programs, became head softball coach in 2009. He guided the Lady Tigers to an 8-7 mark that year, which was the first fall season in team history.

After losing its district openers in ’09 and ’10, Houston earned a first-ever district victory this past season. The Lady Tigers rallied from an early five-run deficit and cruised past Seymour 17-6 for a historic victory.

The Lady Tigers are eligible to return every player from the 2011 team next year, including all-state selection Taylor Franklin and three others who received all-district honors.

“When the right opportunity presents itself,” Walker said, “I hope to return to the area and continue doing what I am passionate about.”

Walker expressed gratitude to those he worked with or alongside during his time at HHS.

“There are so many things I would like to say… but most importantly, I would like to take the time to thank those that matter the most,” he said.

“I would like to thank each student athlete that I have had the opportunity to coach for their work ethic and a lifetime worth of memories that I will always cherish. I would also like the students in my classroom to know that I feel very honored to have had the opportunity to build relationships. I appreciate all of their efforts and accomplishments.

“I would like to thank Lisa Malam, Julee Chipps and Amber Stephenson for always being so willing to help others. These ladies work very hard and I couldn’t have made it without their help. I would also like to thank former high school principal, Mr. (Ben) Yocom, and Ms. (Brenda) Dennis. With their guidance I feel like I was able to improve professionally. Last summer I had the opportunity to work with Mrs. (Amy) Dill and really enjoyed my time at summer school.”

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