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Coe returns to be coach of North softball

She starred on the state title teams of the 1990s before going to Oregon

North Medford, with its storied softball history, began a new chapter on Monday.

The Black Tornado dipped into a pool of talented former players during its search for a coach and plucked out Missy Doerr to guide the team this season.

Doerr, known as Missy Coe during her four years with North from 1995-98, replaces Brent Barry, who took over the athletic director position at Phoenix High after two years coaching the Tornado.

We had three excellent candidates that we had in mind, said North Medford athletic director Tim Sam, who declined to name the other two finalists. We are very excited about Missy being the new coach.

She's very passionate about coming back and coaching for us.

Doerr, 24, spent three years playing softball for the University of Oregon and remained in Eugene after graduating. Her husband, Kurtis, was a punter on the Ducks' football team and now sells medical supplies.

The couple still resides in Eugene and is expecting their second child in a month. They plan to move to Medford following the birth.

Missy Doerr applied for the position less than a month ago and just recently got word of her hiring.

I am very, very excited about coming back and coaching for North, said Doerr, who coached a 16-under ASA team from Eugene last summer. (North Medford) has been such a big part of my softball career from the time I was 12 years old. It's the only place that I truly felt I could give back to the organization that led me into softball.

Doerr's background in softball is both lengthy and impressive.

She earned first-team all-state honors three times as a catcher and helped the Black Tornado advance to the state title game in her last three seasons, winning one and tying another.

Doerr moved on to Oregon and didn't miss a beat. She was named to the all-Pac-10 Conference first team in 1999 and set school single-season records in doubles (18), runs (49) and total bases (127) while hitting a team-best .362.

In 2000, Doerr hit three home runs in one game against Wichita State.

Her latest challenge is to keep North among the elite in the Southern Oregon Conference.

I truly believe we can continue the tradition here, she said. The standard of excellence is very, very high, and the respect and pride of North softball is known around the state.

Doerr will have plenty to work with this spring.

North Medford, which made it to the state quarterfinals last season, returns second-team all-state outfielder Deni Rowley and honorable mention all-state catcher Stephanie Haskett.

Pitchers Kendra Strahm and Mallorie Hoover return for their senior seasons, as does second baseman Rachelle Willden.

I've heard some great things about the girls, said Doerr. I know they have a very good team coming back with a really strong senior class.

I just want to give to them the knowledge that I learned while I was at North.

And help the Black Tornado turn the page.

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483 or e-mail .