Buckfield’s softball pitchers and catchers have a new leader when they report to their first practice of the preseason Monday.

Tammy Tatlock, a physical education teacher at the school and the former middle school softball coach, will now be leading the high school varsity team after applying for the posted position last fall. Sandy Albert, the varsity coach for the six years prior to COVID-19 wiping out the 2020 season, also applied for the posted position but was not re-hired for another season.

Buckfield Junior/Senior High School Athletic Director Cortney Sirois said that Tatlock, who also coached the high school varsity girls basketball team this winter, was hired as the softball coach a couple weeks ago.

“It was a position that we posted, and had applicants, because Sandy is not part of our bargaining agreement of contracts, and so it’s a stipend position, so they have to be posted at the end of every year,” Sirois said.

Article 5, Section E of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the RSU 10 Board of Directors and Western Foothills Education Association states:

1. The bargaining unit members currently hired for the position will not need to re-apply for the same position if he/she chooses to return to that position. Additionally, the district will notify the bargaining unit member within two (2) months of the end of the activity if the district does not intend to rehire. All non-bargaining unit members must re-apply for a position held in the previous year and will receive equal consideration with bargaining unit members in the hiring process. 2. If no bargaining unit member can be obtained, efforts will then be made to recruit a person outside the district.

Tatlock has previous varsity coaching experience at Washburn District High School in Aroostook County, where she spent 11 years. She said in her second year coaching the Buckfield middle school team that the Bucks won the Capital Area Championships “with many of this year’s returning players that are now at the varsity level.” Tatlock added that she has many years of playing experience at the national level in Canada.

Tammy Tatlock, who as coached the Buckfield middle school team, is the new Buckfield varsity coach Buckfield Junior-Senior High School website

“Her experiences and vision for the program, as well her dedication to the student-athletes, were all things we considered in the decision,” Sirois said.

Albert, meanwhile, said of the decision made by the hiring committee, which she said included a school board member and administration: “This one’s really hard for me.”

“I thought (my interview) went really, really well, actually,” Albert added. “I mean, I had great recommendations. I had recommendations from the top softball (people in the state). I don’t know …”

Albert noted that she had recommendations from David Billings, former chair of the Maine Softball Coaches Association, and Tony Gowell, head of the Maine Amateur Softball Association.

The Bucks averaged 15 wins per year in Albert’s final three seasons at the helm, and they reached the Class D South regional final in 2016 and 2018.

“I’m proud of what we did,” Albert said. “I’m really proud of the kids, and the parents, and the commitment to the community.”

In the end, the hiring committee decided to go in a different direction.

“It basically was, ‘The committee decided to go with the other candidate. We felt that there was a couple questions that she answered better, of what we wanted to hear. It’s no reflection of you as a coach,'” Albert said.

Worried about her reputation, Albert stressed that she hasn’t done anything wrong and she didn’t quit on the position.

Sirois echoed that.

“It’s just a policy, contractual thing. Nothing bad about her,” Sirois said. “She didn’t get fired, she didn’t get let go.”

Albert said she will coach again sometime, but that she needs to take a little time away from the sport right now.

“I’ll be back on the softball field somewhere,” Albert said. “That’s not what I am worried about. I don’t want to leave there because of the commitment to the community, and the kids that are there. They’re great kids. Buckfield kids are awesome.”

Albert was a state-championship player at Buckfield, under the coaching of her father, Dan Jack, who has since been Albert’s assistant. Albert noted that her grandfather also was a Buckfield graduate.

Buckfield assistant coach Dan Jack sends Julia Dow home for a fourth-inning run against Greenville High School in June 2018. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal file photo

“People told me, ‘You bleed maroon.’ And I go, ‘Yeah, I do,'” Albert said.

“I don’t want to coach anywhere else, though, you know?” she added.

Tatlock takes over a program that Albert said should be really good.

“That team’s poised to win (multiple) state championships in a row, with what they have coming and what’s been built,” Albert said.

Tatlock said she also has high expectations for the team. She’s excited to reunite with her former middle school players, whom, along with new players to the program, she said she has reached out to through email in preparation for the start of throwing practices Monday, and full practices the following Monday.

“I look forward to working with these talented young ladies, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the program,” Tatlock said.


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