Sandi Cumings never brought attention to herself during her successful career as the Windsor Wizards’ head softball coach.
Cumings, who will turn 36 next month, was practically a baby in the coaching world when she was named to lead the Windsor High School softball team at the age of 23.
One state championship, a state runner-up finish, a multitude of state tournament appearances and three children later, Cumings has decided to step down from coaching to spend more time with her family.
Even as she retires from coaching, Cumings isn’t making it about herself, and no one can blame her for stepping down.
She has 7-year-old Sidnei in first grade, a 5-year-old Kiana, who will be in kindergarten next year and 1-year-old Landon at the center of her life. Her husband, Nic, a 1997 Windsor High School graduate and former state cross country champion, is a firefighter in Denver, so life is busy every day for the family. Cumings also teaches Spanish at Windsor High School.
“If I had more time, I for sure would continue,” Cumings said. “There’s just not enough hours in the day. I want to spend more time with them and Nic. Maybe once the kids get older and I’m still teaching, maybe I’ll do it again.”
Windsor High School athletic director Mark Kanagy said Cumings was the heart of the softball program for many years.
“She’s done a lot of great things for the school and for the girls who have come through here, and we’re going to miss her,” Kanagy said. “When she first talked to me about wanting to resign, I understand why. The way her family is growing, it’s time for her to step away and take care of the family thing. You’ve got to respect that.”
Kanagy said it’s always tough to see a good coach like Cumings step down.
“She’s very passionate about those girls, and it wasn’t an easy decision for her at all,” Kanagy said. “She’s still going to be a huge support for the girls in that program.”
Deciding to quit coaching was not easy for Cumings.
“I sobbed my eyes out. I still cry about it,” said Cumings, who started playing softball when she was 7 and played third base for two years at the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo.
There were plenty of smiles, though, during her 12-year stint as head coach. She helped build the Wizards into one of the best softball programs in the state, as well as sending several players to play in college from Division I to junior colleges.
“We’ve been really successful, even when we had years where we didn’t make it to state, teams still wanted to beat us because we were Windsor,” Cumings said. “We’ve done well, and I’m sure that the coach that comes in will continue that.”
Kanagy said the closing date to apply for the coaching vacancy is March 5.
“I feel confident that we’re going to find somebody who is going to be able to step in and be able to keep that tradition going and continue to have a great softball program,” Kanagy said. “I’m sure we’re going to have some good applicants.”
Cumings and the Wizards reached the mountaintop in 2006 when they won the Class 4A state championship on their way to six straight state tournament appearances. The Wizards almost won a second state title in 2011 before losing 6-3 in extra innings to Wheat Ridge in the state title game.
Cumings said the successful ride was all about how much time her players put in to improve their skills.
“I attribute that to the girls and their hard work, their dedication to the game and to each other and to Windsor. It’s been a privilege in Windsor,” Cumings said. “I’ve got to work with (assistant coaches) Kyle Stapleton and Tony Hilim, and work with a lot of great girls. I’ve just had a great time.”
Cumings said she’ll miss the relationships with her players.
“I just love the sport, and I just think it’s a great opportunity for the young women to represent themselves in a positive manner and not just academically in the classroom or because they’re homecoming royalty, but because they’re athletically talented,” Cumings said.
Cumings said she learned to try and be consistent and to grow thicker skin during the past 12 years.
“Every athlete in their parents’ eyes is the best, and they want to see their daughters have opportunities and succeed,” Cumings said.
She said the 2006 state title team not only was talented, but they played for each other, Windsor High School and had the mentality of leaving it all out on the field.
Cumings said she hopes she’ll be remembered as a coach who was fair, and that she taught the girls to realize that there are more important and bigger things in the world beside softball, although the sport was important in their lives.
“I hope they remember me as the person that wanted them to be the best person that they could be both on and off the field,” Cumings said.