As high school athletic fans set their sights on a “normal” spring sports season, the Belfast Area High School softball team prepares to do so with a new coach.

Sara McIntire Bryant has been named the school’s varsity coach, as she replaces Jason Fuller.

Fuller accepted the position to replace longtime Lion coach Chris Bartlett for the spring of 2020, but Fuller resigned after that season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Bryant, a 2001 BAHS graduate, played softball and field hockey four years during her time with the Lions.

She went on to attend Husson University (then Husson College) in Bangor and played those two sports in college while earning a degree in elementary education.

Bryant is a special education teacher at BAHS and coach of the school’s unified basketball team.

Bryant thought long and hard about applying after Fuller stepped down, then “decided to throw in my application this time around and was hired.”

"I love the girls and with everything going on in this crazy world, Chris leaving, and not having a season last year, I wanted them to have a sense of normalcy with our softball family,” she said. “I already have a great bond with the girls so moving forward will be smoother.”

The 37-year-old Bryant, who has coached the Troy Howard Middle School field hockey team for a number of years, recently stepped down from that position after leading the Lions to eight straight Busline League championships and she ended her tenure with a 61-game unbeaten streak spanning several seasons.

Bryant said her daughter, Jara, moving up to the high school team and wanting to be able to watch her play at the next level was a big factor in her decision.

“It was a hard decision because the younger girls and parents did not want me to leave,” she said. “It was very emotional. I want to be on the sidelines to cheer Jara on her next four years because I will not get those back. I can always go back to coaching.”

While most of her coaching accolades have revolved around success through field hockey at the middle school level, Bryant admits softball was her first love.

And, she is “super excited” to get started coaching the Lions on the diamond.

“I grew up on a softball field and both of my parents played in the modified leagues years ago when we had Mollison Field and Friendship Park,” she said. “My first love was softball. Not field hockey believe it or not.  I am a die hard Red Sox fan, I love everything about game.”

She added “Belfast was a softball town, but it got lost [and] I want to bring it back.”

“We have some great talent and can't wait to see what we can do, especially after a year off,” she said. “I know what these girls are capable of and wanted to bring it out in them. They deserve it. They are a wonderful group of young women.”