Ernie Chatman is the new Nature Coast softball coach, pending approval from the Hernando County School Board.
“He is a legend in my mind,” athletic director Kristin Peeples said Tuesday, “and we had to jump at the opportunity to bring someone in with his mind for the game.”
Chatman, 64, has been attached to countless honors and records in more than 40 years of coaching. He coached the Hernando cross country team to a state title in 1997 and has more than 700 victories coaching softball, baseball, basketball, track and cross country at his alma mater Hernando and, recently, at Hernando Christian.
He was inducted into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the FACA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. He led HCA to the state semifinals in back-to-back seasons (2009-10) before leaving after the 2011 season with a 68-11 record.
Peeples coached the softball program last season after Mettina Couet stepped down to spend more time with her family.
“We were very excited to see that he applied,” principal Toni-Ann Noyes said. “He was gracious and humble the first time I met him, and we think he’ll be a great fit.”