Amy Schmaltz McLaughlin, who started a long line of Alvin High School Softball players receiving postseason honors outside of district play, has recently taken over as the new head softball coach at Clear Brook High School.
McLaughlin started all four varsity years as catcher for the Lady Yellowjackets before graduating from AHS in 1994. During her high school career, McLaughlin never batted below .317 and closed her senior season by earning all-district MVP honors and becoming the first Alvin softball player ever to earn All-Greater Houston area honors.
McLaughlin was named to the first team.
With the move to Brook, the Texas A&M graduate will ironically be coaching the 2020 campaign for the Lady Wolverines in the same district as Alvin, who has won the 24-6A crown the last three years.
“My heartstrings still pull strong for Alvin, but we got to take care of business at Brook,” said McLaughlin, who’s also a member of the Lady Jackets’ All-Decade 1990’s Team. “When I was at Kempner last year, I thought we were going to play them in a tournament and that got me a little excited, but it didn’t end up happening.”
Starting her coaching career in 1999, McLaughlin has held jobs at both the collegiate and high school level. The college stops included stints at Navarro, San Jacinto and Galveston junior colleges, along with serving as both the head softball and volleyball coach and the assistant athletic director at Salem International University in West Virginia.
McLaughlin has held the high school softball posts at Tarkington for two years, Orangefield for nine years and Lumberton for two years, before taking the Kempner job in 2018. McLaughlin’s Orangefield teams advanced to the playoff five times, winning one district championship and advancing to the third round in 2013.
Kempner also advanced to the bi-district playoffs this spring under McLaughlin with a pair of Lady Cougars receiving all-state honors from the Texas Girls Coaches’ Association.
The former Lady Jacket was also the head coach for the TGCA 1A-3A Blue All-Stars in 2013 and also guided the (Beaumont) Southeast All-Stars in 2014.
McLaughlin said she’s always kept a close eye on the softball programs in Clear Creek ISD over the past several years and that played a major role in her ultimately taking the Brook post.
“They’ve always been in a good district and been real competitive,” she said. “I hated leaving my kids at Kempner, but I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
The Lady Wolverines finished 10-14 this past season under former coach Noah Cardenas and were fifth in the 24-6A standings. Brook returns 10 players for 2020.
McLaughlin said she met the returnees towards the end of the school year and the incoming players during strength and conditioning workouts. The new Lady Wolverines’ coach and her players are also taking advantage of the new UIL rule, which now permits coaches in each sport to use two hours per week to work on certain skills pertaining to the sport.
“The fact that we are underdogs and didn’t make the playoffs this past year motivates me even more,” McLaughlin said. “It’s all about taking care of the little things and if you can do that, you can surprise some people. You can’t worry about what the other team is doing.
“We were in a pretty good district (20-6A) at Kempner with Ridge Point being one of the best teams in the state. We weren’t expected to finish high, but we got the third-place berth.”
Other Alvin memories featured McLaughlin leaving both then Alvin coach Julie Goodman (in the coach’s box) and the players in the opposing dugout often ducking for cover during games with her consistent “wicked liners” down the third-base line. Goodman speculated that her catcher delivered the shots at least once a contest.
“I really jumped ahead on some change-ups,” joked McLaughlin, who’s received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M in recreation, park and tourism sciences and a master’s degree from the University of Houston at Clear Lake in fitness and human performance.
Buechele resigns Alvin volleyball post - Suzy Buechele recently resigned from her Alvin volleyball coaching post to accept a job as a counselor with the Texas City ISD.
Buechele’s husband, Garrett Buechele, still serves as the Yellowjackets’ head golf coach.
Buechele came to Alvin in 2015 after serving as an assistant at Pearland High School. The Lady Jackets went 32-16 in the former University of Oklahoma All-American’s first season at the helm, upsetting 23-6A champion Deer Park in the bi-district playoffs and then dropping a five-set squeaker to Clear Springs in the area round.
A total of four players also received all-state honors from the Texas Sportswriters Association during Buechele’s tenure at the AHS helm. Buechele’s Lady Sooner career featured three All Big-12 selections and three All- Region selections, which paved the way her to being named an AVCA All-American following a banner senior year. She led Oklahoma in attempts and kills for three out of four years and earned MVP accolades both her sophomore and senior seasons.
Kley Williams takes Falls’ volleyball job - Another coach with prior Alvin ties has taken a job with the Clear Creek ISD, as Alison Kley Williams was named the new head volleyball coach at Clear Falls.
Williams returns to Texas to guide the Lady Knights’ program after serving as the head coach the last seven years at (Illinois) Wauconda High School.
Williams originally come to Alvin as an assistant for Karen Blanchette in 2005 and 2006 and after leaving for Spring Dekaney for one year in 2007, the La Porte High School graduate became the Lady Jackets’ head coach in 2008 and guided Alvin to the playoffs in 2009.
The Lady Jackets went 21- 20 in 2009 and advanced to the bi-district playoffs as the fourth place seed from 24-5A. Among the 2009 highlights included Alvin also overcoming a two-set deficit to edge Pearland Dawson in five games and placing fourth at the La Porte Tournament.
Williams then got the opportunity to coach her alma mater at La Porte for the 2010 and 2011 campaigns, before leaving the state.