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This won't be last year for North softball coach

Larry Binney, the remarkably successful softball coach at North Medford High School, has decided against making 1999 his final year.

Binney had announced at the start of the season that this, his 18th season of coaching, would be his last. However, Binney was recently persuaded to reconsider his decision, and it was announced by athletic director Mike Kay at the school's fall sports registration Monday that Binney would return for another year.

This year, Binney has directed North Medford to a 14-0 Southern Oregon Conference record and the No. — ranking in the state. The Black Tornado is 24-1 overall entering the state playoffs.

Binney's teams have won 14 conference titles and three state crowns. North Medford has played in the past three state title games -- losing one, tying one and winning last year's outright.

His career record is 419-90-1.

Binney, who confirmed the news late Monday, decided to return because it was in the best interest of the program he had turned into such a dominant force. He did so at the urging of several school officials, he said.