After 12 years at the helm and nearly two decades in the program, Somerset High School softball coach David Dorsey retired from coaching the Lady Jumpers.
"Including my time coaching Little League, Babe Ruth, high school baseball and high school softball, I have been coaching for 42 years," Dorsey stated. "I always said I would retire after both my daughters graduated from high school. Five years would go by and then another five years, and I am still coaching."
"With the season being cancelled this spring, it gave me a little separation from the program, and I thought now might be the best time to step down," Dorsey said. "Also, with my age I don't think I really rlate with the younger generation as well as I use to, and the program needs some younger leadership going forward."
With the program towards the bottom of the 12th Region standings before he became involved with the program, Dorsey took the Lady Jumpers to unprecedented heights in his very first season. During his 12 seasons as head coach, the Somerset softball team elevated to a higher level.
"Dave took over a program that was last in the region," Somerset High School Athletic Director Bob Tucker stated. "Most of our games didn’t go past 5 innings. He held his players to a new standard and insisted they perform at the highest level. Somerset High School softball owes a great deal to Dave Dorsey."
Tucker first encouraged Dorsey to help out coaching the high school baseball team in 1984. Working under his former mentor, Charlie Taylor, Dorsey became an integral part of the Briar Jumper baseball program and was probably being groomed to be the program's next baseball head coach.
"I remember we had big game with Pulaski County, when they were near the top of the state rankings," Dorsey recalled. "It was a huge game for our baseball program, but I had to miss my daughter's Meece Middle School softball against Pine Knot. It was at that moment, I realized I wasn't going to ever miss another one of her games."
Dorsey soon became more than a Lady Jumpers softball parent/fan and started helping out with the program when his oldest daughter Brittany Dorsey Murphy played for the varsity team for nearly seven years. And it was during his youngest daughter's time with the Lady Jumpers softball program that Coach Dorsey led the program to its greatest success.
Samantha Dorsey Nelson (Somerset 2007-2010) was an all-state player for her dad and was a big part of the program's success in her father's first two years as the program's head coach.
In 2009, David Dorsey led the Lady Jumpers to their first-ever 12th Region All 'A' title and a Final Four appearance in the All 'A' State Tournament in Louisville. The Lady Jumpers went 23-11 in Dorsey's first season at the helm.
In 2010, David Dorsey guided the Lady Jumpers to the program's first 12th Region Tournament championship and their first appearance in KHSAA Softball State Tournament. The Lady Jumpers repeated as All 'A' 12th Region champions that year and ended the season with a 28-15 record.
In his third season, Dorsey led the Lady Jumpers to their first district title and a program best 30-9 record. Dorsey would guide the Lady Jumpers to four district titles in a five-year period. In 11 complete seasons, Dorsey guided the program to 224 wins - which averaged out to 20 wins per season.
From 2001 to 2008, Dorsey worked with Lady Jumpers head coaches Jim Brown and Heather Baker before he took over the program as head coach.
Dorsey was an all-state pitcher for the Somerset High School baseball team, and pitched the winning game for Briar Jumpers in the program's first-ever state championship title in 1974. Dorsey went on to become an All-Conference pitcher at Eastern Kentucky University. Dorsey stated he got his first taste of coaching, during his senior year at EKU.
"The last game of the season my senior year at EKU, our head coach got sick and couldn't make to the trip to Cincinnati," Dorsey recalled. "He asked if I would coach the game in his absence, and I learned then that coaching might be something I would like to do."
Although he will no longer have the title of coach at Somerset High School, Dorsey still feels he will be around the program even after retirement.
"I will still be around the program, maybe chasing foul balls and home runs balls," Dorsey laughed.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.