Janeil Draffen will coach the Smith-Cotton varsity softball team next fall.
Draffen was named the Lady Tigers’ new softball coach at a Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education meeting Monday. She will also teach seventh- and eighth-grade physical education at Smith-Cotton Junior High.
Before coming to Smith-Cotton, Draffen coached at Harrisburg, first as an assistant coach and for the past four years as the head coach. Her Bulldogs went 5-13 last fall, reaching the Class 1, District 7 final before losing to New Franklin.
“I’m looking forward to coming to a Class 4 softball program,” she said. “My first step is getting to meet the girls and coming up with a summer program.”
She plans to meet with the Lady Tigers on Friday.
“Hopefully, that will lead into the fall season,” she said. “They’ll learn my expectations. I’ll learn theirs.”
Harrisburg went 6-14 the year before Draffen took the reigns and improved to 12-9 in her first season as head coach, winning the district tournament before falling to Clopton in extra innings in the Class 1 tournament. The following year saw another district championship and a trip even further into the state tournament, as the Bulldogs beat Silex and Bevier before falling to Jefferson in the state semifinal. The Bulldogs made it three consecutive district championships in 2012.
“We are excited to have coach Draffen as our softball coach,” said Smith-Cotton Activities Director Rob Davis in a press release. “Her track record shows that she knows how to build a program to a point where it can compete for conference, district and state titles. She knows softball, but more importantly, knows how to motivate kids to want to achieve at a high level. She will be a wonderful addition to our staff.”
Now she looks to bring some of that success to a Smith-Cotton program that has seen losing records for the past three seasons.
“I want these girls to be excited to come to practice, excited to be on the field and see the potential they have as individuals and the potential they have as a team,” she said. “I think the mentality is going to change after some success. I’m going to try to push them to their limits and do it in a fun, softball-family oriented way.”
Draffen graduated from Boonville in 2001. She began her college career at Motlow State College in Lynchburg, Tenn. before moving on to Tennessee Wesleyan for two years.