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Softball coach quits after just one season

Mark Rulison waited 10 years to replace longtime Land O'Lakes softball coach Jerry English, who retired in 2003.

But one year was enough for Rulison, who resigned Monday and is not saying why.

"I've got some personal commitments, so I'm not going to have time to do softball," said Rulison, adding he made the decision during the winter break. "It's personal. I can't really say."

"We're all surprised," Gator athletic director Chuck Moehle said. "Whatever (the reasons) are, he must have weighed them heavily over the two-week break."

Rulison, 40, replaced English, who coached the Gators for 27 seasons. He coached last year's team to an 18-8 record and a playoff berth as the Class 5A, District 5 runnerup.

Before that, Rulison coached the Land O'Lakes junior varsity to a 97-13-1 record from 1991-98 before spending two seasons as an assistant with the varsity.

Moehle said he hopes the job will be filled quickly.

"It's hard to leave the girls," said Rulison, who teaches math at Land O'Lakes, including honors courses. "It's a quality team. They have a chance to go a long way."

For now, a return to coaching is not likely.

"I think this is it," Rulison said. "I'm not going to pull a Michael Jordan and keep coming back."

SEAMAN COMMITS: River Ridge softball and volleyball standout Stephanie Seaman orally committed to Pasco-Hernando Community College for softball, Royal Knights volleyball coach Heidi Castelamare said.

Seaman, a two-time Times first team all-Pasco selection, hit leadoff and played centerfield for River Ridge, which advanced to the state semifinals each of the past three seasons and made the state final in 2002 and '03.

She led the county with a .461 batting average, 41 hits and 29 runs scored as a junior, earning all-state honorable mention.

A middle hitter in volleyball, Seaman received honorable mention on the Times 2004 all-county squad.

KNIGHT WON'T PLAY: One of Seaman's former volleyball teammates, outside hitter Tricia Thomas, opted to attend Florida State and will not play volleyball, Castelamare said. Thomas, a Times 2004 first team all-Pasco pick, set a school record with 262 kills last season.

Times staff writer Frank Pastor contributed to this report.

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