Matt Troutman knew last summer that Taylor County’s girls could be in for a season better than most, which in Butler is at least 25 wins and usually fewer than five losses.
The veteran head coach had a young team that was dropping back down from Class AA to Class A and was hungry.
“They were pretty much motivated after last season,” Troutman said. “We did quite well, we returned pretty much everybody. They sort of made up their minds last summer that ‘we can do something special.’”
The Vikings did a little bit more.
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Despite a rotation of mostly underclassmen, Troutman engineered the Vikings to dominating wins and an undefeated season that ended with a 67-54 win over Turner County in the GHSA Class A public school girls title.
That made the Taylor County alum an easy pick as The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia girls coach of the year for 2014-15.
“It was a treat working with kids you don’t jave to jump on every day, to get them to help themselves,” Troutman said. “They were highly motivated kids in the classroom, they carry themselves well.
Troutman will have a little pressure to repeat, since most of his team returns, including all-stater and first-team All-Middle Georgia junior Rasheka Simmons. He’ll pad his 851-175 career record, most of which has taken place at his alma mater.
But next year is next year, and Troutman and Taylor County can continue enjoying the memories of an unforgettable season with a group that would have ranked high on Troutman’s list even without the steller accomplishments.
“I thought that the kids played the first 12 or 13 ballgames real consistently,” he said. “They were doing things right. I saw something special in them.”