By Brad Morris
Hayden Ellis was sitting in the third base dugout talking with long-time Circleville coach Dave Truex after a practice this past spring when Truex posed a question.
“When I came to Circleville last school year to teach, Dave asked me if I wanted to help out coaching the softball team,” Ellis said. “Dave gave me a lot of reign for a first-year assistant coach, allowing me to coach third base and I had my hands in a number of different things coaching wise.
“We were talking one day about softball, and he asked me, ‘Hey, would you want to eventually become the head coach?’ And, of course, I said absolutely.”
Pending approval by the Circleville City Schools Board of Education, Ellis will follow Truex as head softball coach of the Tigers.
Truex retired following last season after 28 years of leading the Tigers. He amassed a 416-272 record with four district championships, two state tournament appearances and a state runner-up finish.
Ellis discussed taking the car keys to the program from Truex.
“It’s an honor to take over for Dave and try to fill his shoes,” she said. “Dave knows the game of softball so well, and he’s made an impact in the lives of the players that he has coached over the years.
“I really enjoyed working with Dave this season, having him point some things out to me and I will take those tips and use them moving forward. I am taking over a solid program and I want to build on what Dave has accomplished and hopefully make the program even better moving forward that he can take pride in.”
Ellis was the starting catcher for Teays Valley’s 2015 state championship team and went on to play at Marshall University, where she graduated from in 2020.
The Teays Valley and Marshall alumnus discussed the coaches she has had over the years and how they have influenced her.
“My dad was my first softball coach and I owe a lot to him for pushing me, teaching me to believe in myself and always strive to become a better player and a better teammate,” she said. “I’ve had some good coaches with club ball, high school ball and then at Marshall.
“When I went to Marshall, I saw how detailed you can be working on the game, going over game film, scouting reports and cleaning up little things about your game that maybe you hadn’t thought about before.”
Ellis gave a preview of how she wants to coach the Tigers and the standards that she wants the program to aspire to.
“I want to push our players to be the best they can be, because I believe in them and I believe that every player can get better in some fashion,” she said. “I will point out little things that each player can get better at or if they aren’t doing something right.
“We want to have a high standard. It starts with loving each other, being good coaches and good teammates and striving to be the best we can be every day that we take the field.”