The Amy Coleman era ended at Pillow Academy after a spectacular four-year coaching run.
Following a shocking home upset loss in the Academy AAAA Division II quarterfinals to Starkville Academy, Coleman met with Pillow Academy headmaster Rodney Brown two days later and announced her intention to retire.
“After much prayer and conversation with my husband, I decided that this season was the right time to walk away,” Coleman said after the meeting.
Citing the need for more personal time for her family, Coleman said the end of this particular season made the most sense for this decision.
“Without any seniors on this team and everyone coming back, our players can walk right back into summer practices, and my leaving will not cause any disruption to the team.”
Asked by former Pillow headmaster Jay Watts in 2016 to serve one year as interim head coach, Coleman eventually compiled a 40-15-3 record at Pillow over four years.
During Coleman’s first year as head coach, Pillow lost to Lamar School in the 2016 state championship game in an epic penalty kick shootout that went six rounds deep and ended in the dark in Meridian. In 2017, Pillow lost its third straight state championship game to Lamar 1-0 at home before a huge crowd. Coleman said it was difficult to get over that loss.
“My biggest regret was losing the state championship game in 2017. I walked away from that game feeling like the better team did not win that night but that the Lamar coach outmaneuvered me.
“I second-guessed myself for a good while after that. Regrets, however painful, can make us look better at what we do. I took that regret into the following season, and I improved as a coach.”
It was during that following season that the Lady Mustangs provided Coleman with her fondest memory, a state championship title win over Hartfield Academy in a three-hour thriller.
“That game was no doubt the most epic state championship game in the history of Mississippi soccer. From Jane Rob Pannell’s multiple saves, to Caroline Brock’s header to score, to Claire (Coleman) agreeing to step off offense to defend Hartfield’s best offensive player, to 11 rounds of penalty kicks, there were several highlights of that game that I will never forget.”