At the most competitive junctures of the softball season, Bobby Diez's gravelly voice has been known to carry across ballparks and beyond in bombastic exhortation of his players.
Now, the veteran Chamberlain coach has one message he hopes will resonate across the Chiefs' entire geographic school zone: He may be getting set to retire from the classroom, but not the coach's box.
Diez, 65, told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday he just renewed his coaching certificate for five years and has no immediate plans to retire. He acknowledged he wanted to get the word out to reassure the returning Chiefs players who have speculated he may not be around for their entire careers.
"It's my last year of teaching," said Diez, a driver's ed teacher in his final year in the state's Deferred Retirement Option Program. "But it's not my last year of coaching."
In Diez's 22 seasons at Chamberlain, his teams have won 516 games and two state titles (2007 and '12), and have earned seven final four berths. Dozens of his players have gone on to the Division I level.
"I talked with my administration before I left (for the school year) and they told me, 'As long as your certificate is good, we want you to coach," Diez said. "I plan to keep coaching as long as they'll have me here."