For Dawn Whitmer, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
Whitmer was announced as the new softball coach at Academy of Our Lady on Tuesday.
She will take over as coach of the school in Marrero, just a few miles from her home in Terrytown.
“It’s sort of like coming home,” Whitmer said. “I was born and raised on the west bank. When the opportunity to come back came along, I felt like it would be a good fit. I know the families on the west bank. And I have watched these kids play their whole lives. I think it was good for the school to have someone who is familiar with the community.”
Whitmer spent last season as Riverdale’s coach, leading the school to the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
She has more than a decade heading up JPRD west bank teams, capturing numerous championships, including World Series Championships in 1985, 2009 and 2014. She also spent three seasons as a coach at Dominican from 2008-2010.
“We are pleased to have someone with the experience of coach Whitmer leading our program,” AOL principal Michelle Geiger said in a statement. “She is greatly respected in the coaching community and has strong ties on the west bank.”
Whitmer replaces Ginger Dilworth, who stepped down at the end of the 2015 season. The Penguins have won three district championships since entering Class 4A, compiling a record of 79-37 in those four years.
Whitmer, a John Ehret alum, hopes to continue those winning ways. She will get to do so on the school’s new field being built on the new campus.
“My goals are to continue to build a successful program,” Whitmer said. “AOL has been successful in the past, and we would like to continue that by bringing our west bank athletes to AOL. They have made some runs in the playoffs recently, and I would like to build on that and get that ultimate goal, winning a state championship.”