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Athletic director quietly stepped aside as Cobras coach

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002

HUDSON -- Linda McQuade went out with nary a whisper.

Hudson's former softball coach spent last season grooming longtime junior varsity coach Jim Johnson as her assistant before quietly resigning in April.

Neither McQuade nor Johnson told anyone other than school officials until Johnson mentioned it during last week's conversations about team previews.

"We planned it," McQuade said. "I just graciously resigned."

McQuade, who also has coached volleyball at Hudson for the past 12 seasons and in 1997 became the first woman to be a high school athletic director in Pasco County, will continue in those roles.

"It was just a little too much; the work overload," McQuade said of coaching two sports and being an athletic director.

McQuade compiled a 103-162 record in 11 seasons as the Cobras' softball coach.

Hudson had not fared well before McQuade took over the softball program. The Cobras only won twice in her first season -- an improvement considering the team was winless the season before McQuade arrived.

Hudson never won a district or conference title under McQuade's guidance, but the Cobras twice were district runners-up (in 1997 and 1998) and advanced to the regionals twice. In 1997, Hudson lost to Lake Region in a regional final.

"It was a program in progression," McQuade said.

McQuade, a former softball player at Salem College in West Virginia, said she actually likes softball better than volleyball, but was reluctant to leave the latter sport since Hudson has become one of the premier volleyball programs in the county.

McQuade said Johnson, who coached junior varsity softball at Hudson for five seasons, "is deserving of the job.

"He knows the kids and last year he kind of learned the ropes a little bit."

Now that she is not coaching softball, McQuade plans to spend time this spring trying to arrange an alumni football game similar to exhibitions played by Ridgewood and Gulf alumni.

McQuade said about 30 former players have expressed interest.

McQuade plans to announce a date for an organizational meeting sometime later this spring.

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