The girls’ baseball program at Pascagoula High has seen a passing of the torch atop the program recently.
Veteran head coach Christa Herchenhahn announced her retirement after seven seasons at the helm of the Lady Panthers. She will be replaced by Lakia Westerfield, who had been serving as an assistant coach for the PHS boys team as well as an assistant volleyball coach.
Herchenhahn received a huge honor upon the completion of her time at PHS, as she was recognized as a Jostens Renaissance Educator of the Year award recently becoming one of only three teachers in the nation to receive the prestigious award.
Herchenhahn and the other Jostens Renaissance award winners will be honored at the 30th annual Jostens Renaissance Global Conference in Dallas, Texas from July 13-15.
Herchenhahn enjoyed 26 years of coaching experience, including 16 seasons as a head coach in Mississippi with stops at Pascagoula, Petal Oak Grove and Pass Christian. Her first head coaching job came at Cumberland County High School in Crossville, Tn., before she moved to the Magnolia State.
In her stints as a head coach Herchenhahn totaled over 215 wins as and captured six division titles and was named division Coach of the Year several times. Also, 21 players received college basketball scholarships after playing for her as a head coach.
She also served 10 seasons as an assistant coach at several different high schools.
Westerfield takes over atop the Lady Panther program with a wealth of experience as an assistant coach across the state of Mississippi. She has been involved as an assistant coach for over 20 years.
She is also well respected off the court and in the classroom as well, as she was named the Pascagoula High School Teacher of the Year for this past school season. She also received the same honor at both Forrest Hill High (in 2015-16) and Raymond High Freshman Academy (2010-2011).
Pascagoula will remain in Class 6A next season as the Mississippi High School Activities Association implements a seventh classification for the first time in the history of prep sports in the state of Mississippi. The Lady Panthers will also stay in Region 4-6A, a league that will also be comprised of some familiar faces for Pascagoula as Hancock, George County, Picayune, Long Beach and West Harrison will round out the region. Pascagoula, Hancock, Long Beach, West Harrison and George County all qualified for the state girls’ basketball playoffs last season with the Lady Hawks and the Lady ‘Canes each winning regular season region championships.