Chipola names Brookins new Softball head coach
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -It hasn’t taken long for the folks at Chipola to find and announce the school’s next head softball coach. Tuesday afternoon, Kelly Brookins was named to succeed Belinda Hendrix, less than a week after the latter moved on to the head coaching job at East Tennessee.
Brookins is a 2004 graduate of Liberty High School where she was a 2-time member of Florida’s All-state teams. She then played two years at Chipola where she earned 2nd Team All-Conference honors her sophomore year.
Brookins went on to play at Nova Southeastern University where she earned a B.S. in Sports and Recreation Management in 2008. She came back to Chipola as a coach in 2011 has served as assistant coach for 10 seasons under coach Hendrix.
During her time as assistant, Chipola teams have won the National Championship twice, in 2015 and 2019. The Lady Indians made their sixth consecutive national tournament appearance this year and their ninth appearance overall at nationals.
“It’s just unreal.” said Brookins shortly after being introduced at the college. “I’ve been doing it for the last ten years of trying to get our girls in the community and stuff and just being a great light out there, and I’m just going to continue to do the same thing. It’s just, the community behind us is awesome. The support and love they show to the athletics here at Chipola is just unreal, and I’m excited to be here and lead the team.”
The new coach says she owes so much to her predecessor, Belinda Hendrix, who has taught her so much and helped lead her to this day.
“If it wasn’t for her I would definitely not be in this position.” Brookins said. “Not be able to do this position. She’s taught me so much, the leadership, the courage, the work hard ethic, the family atmosphere. That’s what helps us win those national championships and state titles is the togetherness. And just the hard work pays off.”
Chipola finished the 2021 season a sixth State Championship. Five players were named to the State All-Tournament Team. The Lady Indians also won a share of the 2021 Panhandle Conference title finishing with a 15-5 league mark, along with Pensacola.
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