By Joyce Erekson
The high school softball coaching scene in Lynn is poised for yet another change.
Jack Bartlett, who took over the head coaching job at English in 2015 when Alisa Fila stepped down after 23 years, has resigned.
“We were very happy with Jack,” English High athletic director Dick Newton said. “It’s sad to see him go. I have a lot of respect for Jack. He’s a good guy and I wish him well.”
The job is currently posted with a closing date of Thursday, Nov. 10.
Bartlett inherited a team that hadn’t qualified for the state tournament in more than a decade. The Bulldogs’ struggles continued, with the team winning one game in 2015 and last year. Newton said softball in Lynn has changed dramatically over the years and it’s concerning. He said a large number of kids coming into the school have never played before and that poses a challenge for the next coach. He said the situation isn’t unique to softball.
“The numbers are down in all the youth sports programs in the city,” Newton said. “These are challenging times athletically.”
Up until last year, the city’s four high schools (English, Classical, St. Mary’s and KIPP) counted on the Greater Lynn Babe Ruth softball program to feed their programs. The Babe Ruth program folded last spring, but Wyoma Little League started a Junior/Senior Little League softball program that is open to girls citiwide.
Newton said softball is the type of sport that, unless a girl starts playing at a young age, it’s tough to be competitive at a varsity level. He said English is hoping to find someone who will take an interest in trying to bring the program back.
“The person needs to connect with the kids, get kids out for the team and start them out as freshmen,” he said.
Newton said Bartlett, who coached baseball and hockey at the youth level for years, resigned two weeks ago.
Over the past few years, English, Classical and St. Mary’s have seen their softball coaching staffs turnover. Fila resigned the English job heading into the 2015 and Classical veteran coach Chris Warren did the same after being made a vice principal at the school. St. Mary’s softball coach Colleen Newbury left prior to the start of the 2016 to take the head coaching job at Danvers High. Warren was replaced by Newbury’s assistant coach at St. Mary’s, Erica Richard, and Newbury was replaced by Paige Licata, who played at Revere High School.