Woodinville tabs one of its own

  • Written by Don Mann
Dani_WeirWoodinville athletic director Terry Agnew broke the news to the Seattle Times last week and it was not a surprise to those in the loop: Dani Weir had been hired as the school’s new varsity softball coach.

She replaces Mark Leander, who resigned after guiding the team to an undefeated season and Class 4A  state championship last May.

Weir, 24, graduated from Woodinville in 2006 and was a standout member of Woodinville’s 2005 state championship team coached by her father Jim Weir. She has been the Falcons’ junior varsity coach for the past two seasons.

The former pitcher and first baseman attended Boston College and played varsity softball all four years at the school.

“She’s ready for it,” Leander said of the youngster. “In fact I suggested her for the job. She’s young, but she’s well-prepared and will bring a lot of energy to it. The girls really like her and wanted her to be the choice.”

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and I couldn’t be more excited,” Weir said, returning a phone call after one of her nightly private softball tutoring lessons.

By day, she’s a part-time accountant at a local engineering office.

Falcon softball, she said, has been a way of family life for her as long as she can remember.

Her father was an assistant under Leander in the 90s before taking over the head coaching job from 2001 to 2009, which established its glory days.

“I was a bat girl at 8 or 9 years old, running around with a helmet on, picking up the bats and returning them to the dugout,” she said. “I loved it.”

Older sister Amanda played for the Falcons, and younger sister Makenna, the stellar shortstop in last year’s title run, is now a scholarship freshman at Boise State.

Dani was asked if her father would now be her assistant coach — a position he happily inherited after Leander took over once again in 2010, in a flip-flop of roles.

“Nope,” she said flatly. “He plans to go watch Mak play at Boise.”

She’ll have a new assistant in the dugout: Taylor Smith, a friend and former University of Washington player.

She said she’s still searching for a JV coach, but expects a seamless transition when that does occur.

“I’m still working on that but this program has had such a great foundation and it’s not gonna change much. We have such a great group coming up and the culture and traditions will remain the same.”

She’ll get a jump-start in her maiden voyage at the helm, with Madi Schreyer, Alex Boyd and Emily Jackson — with Division 1 scholarships already in the bag —  returning as seniors.

Said Leander, who coached Woodinville football for years as well as softball, on his resignation: “It was time. I’ve been coaching for a long time and it was time to step back and let the younger folks have their opportunity.”

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