TAHLEQUAH — Monday evening was rough on Matt Cloud.
Earlier in the day, he was named Tahlequah’s new athletic director. That night he had to reveal to his softball players that he was stepping down as their coach to focus on the overall outlook of the athletic programs.
“I had to give up coaching,” Cloud said on his Facebook page, following games played during Tahlequah’s annual summer league. “I sat at the field after our games (Monday night), and I thought about all the kids I had a chance to coach since 1998.”
Cloud takes over the reigns as the athletic director for Brad Gilbert, who stepped down as the district’s athletic director to focus on teaching and coaching the varsity football team.
“It’s been something I’ve had on my mind a while as far as getting into administration and this opportunity came up and I felt it was the time to do so,” Cloud said. “I want to build the total program. I think I left softball in pretty good shape and slowpitch has been for a long time. I want to do the same for the rest of the program.”
Cloud took over both Tahlequah softball programs in 2010. He made eight state tournaments in fastpitch and slowpitch softball in eight combined seasons. His overall record between the two sports was 287-36.
In May, Cloud’s slowpitch softball team lost in the Class 6A championship game to Southmoore in Shawnee. Graduating off the team was Kaitlin Chuculate, Marisa Girdner, Lainey Wallace, Randee O’Donnell and Whitney Wright. Returning for fastpitch in the fall would have included players such as Kortney Dry, Kirsten Chase and pitchers Morgan Tarrance and Lindsay Wade.
“We graduate a lot but this isn’t an escape from what we have left,” Cloud told the Muskogee Phoenix. “We’ve got a good core of kids back and I intend to find someone who will come in here and continue what we’ve done.”
Now Cloud steps into the same role that his father, Gil Cloud, currently has at Tulsa Public Schools.
“I am very happy for him,” Gil Cloud told the Daily Press. “I know he will do a great job for Tahlequah Public Schools.”
Matt Cloud’s tenure as Tahlequah’s athletic director starts on July 1.