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One of Pasco County’s top volleyball coaches has resigned.
Ridgewood’s Amber Starkey has stepped down to spend more time with her children — a 4-year-old son, and a 2-year-old daughter.
“I just had to come and make the decision that I have to really put my kids first now,” Starkey said.
Starkey, a 1994 Ridgewood graduate, spent nine years as the program’s head coach. She led the Rams to the Class 5A, District 8 championship this year. It was the program’s first district title in 22 years, back when Starkey was a student. Ridgewood reached the Class 5A region semifinals before falling to rival Fivay.
Starkey was honored as the coach of the year by the Sunshine Athletic Conference and was the local Class 5A coach of the year by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association.
“It was definitely a tough decision,” Starkey said. “I’m gonna miss it so much. I love the sport. I love the competition. I love the girls.”
But the time commitment has grown too large.
Starkey, a stay-at-home mother, said she and her husband had to hire a babysitter for practically every practice from May until October because of her team’s camps and extended season.
Starkey will continue coaching — she’s leading her son’s tee-ball team and will likely coach his soccer team, too.
“I couldn’t really imagine missing that,” Starkey said.
The Rams also have open coaching positions for boys and girls soccer, athletic director Tom Wellington said. All three vacant positions have been posted on the district’s employment website.