BUTTE — Kelci Thatcher readily admits that her life — and the responsibilities that come with it — looks a bit different than when she was a freshly minted Butte Central graduate in 2007.
She's now 31, and a foster parent to two boys that she is hoping to adopt. As she put it, "Life changes."
After grappling with the duties of being both a coach and mom since last year, Thatcher, who has served as Central's softball coach for the past eight years, decided to resign from her position on Wednesday.
"I've been fortunate to be involved with a lot of great teams, a lot of great girls," Thatcher said. "I've been successful as a coach but it's the kids that make you look good. They put in all the work and we just guide and lead."
In a press release, Central activities director Chad Petersen expressed gratitude for Thatcher's nearly decade of service.
"Kelci’s dedication, passion and leadership will be sorely missed, but we respect and understand her decision to step down at this time," Petersen said in the release.
Thatcher was hired in time for the 2012 season and her teams went on to qualify for multiple Class A state tournaments while finishing as runner up to Frenchtown-Alberton in 2016. The Maroons advanced to the state tournament during every year of Thatcher's tenure except 2019.
Prior to becoming Central's softball coach, Thatcher was an assistant coach for the Maroons' girls basketball team under Meg Murphy and was part of the 2011 championship team.
She's been involved in coaching since she was 18, and the decision to step away from something that was such an integral part of her life was not an easy one.
"It was a decision that I thought about for an entire year," Thatcher said. "I went back and forth and weighed the pros and cons. Coaching has been a big part of my life."
She notified her players of her decision this week and said their reactions were overwhelmingly supportive.
"They were all very gracious and it made me feel more blessed than anything," Thatcher said. "They were respectful of my wishes and what I need to do for my family."
In release, Petersen stated that Central intends to hire Thatcher's replacement before the beginning of the next school year.
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