After winning two state championships and more than 600 games, Greenbrier softball coach Garrett Black is stepping down.
Black told his players Friday of his plans to retire after this season. He will remain on as the school’s athletic director.
The 49-year-old Black, the first and only head softball coach at Greenbrier, was inducted into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame earlier this year. In 22 seasons, Black has accumulated a 643-164 record (before Monday’s doubleheader with Thomson), along with 18 region championships.
He said retiring from coaching was something that’s weighed heavy on his mind in recent years.
“You just get to a point when you need to make a decision,” Black said. “Timing is everything, and the time is right. It’s a combination of things, but to be honest I’m just tired. I need to get away from the game and get my batteries recharged. I can’t give these kids what they need in the summer and in the offseason like I used to. So to do what’s right for the program, I’m going to step aside.”
Jason Osborn, the school’s baseball coach, will become the new softball coach. Osborn, who’s been a softball coach at Lumpkin County and Thomson, joined Black in 2014 as the pitching coach for the softball team, the pair winning the program’s second state title that season.
“The program won’t miss a beat,” Black said. “The girls are familiar with him. The whole staff stays in place. I feel very good about the direction the program’s going in, because I know they care about the kids.”
Black credits his family - he and his wife, Becky, have five children (Abby, Brett, Carsyn, Andrew and Brady) - with his success. He said Becky bought in early and has been a major player behind the scenes of Greenbrier softball.
After building Greenbrier into a state power in the early years, Black finally broke through in 2004. The team was ranked No. 1 in the state and he could feel the pressure.
“We were ranked No. 1 in 2004 and had finished third the year before and expectations were high,” he said. “It was pretty tough to coach that year, because I thought if we didn’t get it that year we might never win it. But the kids embraced being No. 1; they embraced being the favorite.”
As for winning a second title, Black said the 2014 championship was unexpected.
“We just got hot at the right time,” he said. “We played our best when we had our backs against the wall and things got uncomfortable. That’s when those kids thrived. It was pretty neat to sit there and watch that unfold.”
Black cites his father, Danny Black, and coach Terry Holder as two major influences on his coaching.
“I’m a by-product of being around great people,” he said in 2016. “And I’ve had some great assistant coaches. The staff I have now, I’d put them up against anybody. It’s a great staff that cares about kids and works hard.
“I’ve been blessed with some great kids who have come through this program. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, the program that we’ve built. I say that ‘we’ve built,’ because there’s been a lot of people involved.”