Mary Ellen McMahen knows better than most one of the coaches whose footsteps she’ll be following when she takes over as head coach for the Crossett Lady Eagles’ softball team for the 2017-2018 season.
They’re her father’s.
Bobby McMahen, left, was the Crossett High School’s head softball coach before his retirement. Now, his daughter Mary Ellen McMahen, right, will be taking on the role. (SUBMITTED/The News Observer)
McMahen is the daughter of retired teachers Bobby “Coach Mac” McMahen and Vickie McMahen. Bobby was with the Crossett School District for more than 37 years, and during that time was the head softball coach, while Vickie taught for 28 years.
Now, Mary Ellen — a Crossett alumna — plans to carry on the tradition. The school board officially approved Mary Ellen as head coach in late July.
“It feels good to be an Eagle again,” she said.
Mary Ellen graduated from Crossett in 2009 before pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Henderson State University. During her time at Henderson, she played softball and ran cross-country.
After graduating from Henderson, she accepted a job in Hamburg as the assistant softball coach and family and consumer science teacher.
During the 2015 softball season, Mary Ellen stood in the Lady Lions dug out and coached against her father and the Eagles.
“It didn’t feel right,” she said. “I was raised an Eagle and my dad coached me, so it was a strange feeling to be there in the rival dugout coaching against the Eagles,” she said.
But the school rivalry didn’t become a family rivalry.
“It was unusual seeing her on the Hamburg side, but we talked all the time and we didn’t let it come between us.” Bobby said.
Mary Ellen spent one year at Hamburg before returning to Crossett.
“The Elementary P.E. position became available at Crossett, and that’s really what I wanted to do,” she said about returning home.
Mary Ellen taught P.E. and assisted her father on the softball field during the 2015-2016 school year.
“I think our coaching styles are similar because he coached me all of those years, but I also had college coaches as well, so we are different in some areas.” she said.