Mike Estes has stepped down as coach of East Lake’s volleyball and softball teams to take a job as the pitching coach for Eckerd College’s softball program.
Estes, 51, resigned from both positions at East Lake within the past two weeks but did not publicly announce the decision until Tuesday when his new job at Eckerd became official. East Lake administrators moved quickly to find a new volleyball coach, promoting assistant Mike Morris to take over the program.
“It was difficult to coach two sports,” Estes said. “Both are year-round sports, and when I get into something I want to go all in. It was time consuming juggling both, especially having my own business. I loved each sport, though. I’m just excited about this new opportunity because I’ve wanted to coach at the college level for some time.”
For the past seven seasons, Estes has coached the Eagles softball program and led it to six straight playoff appearances, including the state final four in 2010 and ’11.
His 2011 team went undefeated in the regular season and was ranked No. 2 in the country before losing to Bartow in the state semifinals.
Two years ago, Estes added volleyball to his coaching duties. He led a veteran team to its second straight state title during his coaching debut in 2012, an impressive feat considering Estes had never coached volleyball. Last year, East Lake advanced to the region final.
Estes coached his youngest daughter, Brittnay, in both sports. Brittnay now plays volleyball at Lipscomb University.
“This will give me more time to watch her play in college,” Estes said.
Estes said he turned in his resignation from volleyball first but waited to step down from softball until after the season.
“That was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do walking away from softball,” Estes said. “I had spent so much time with the program and helping build it into something. I could tell the girls knew something was up because they already found out I was leaving volleyball. It was just such a good opportunity to move to the college game, and it was a position where I was being pursued.”
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BobbyHomeTeam.