Former Roff High School All-Stater Taylor Canida is looking forward to her first-ever head-coaching gig.

The Ada Board of Education officially hired Canida as the new Ada High School softball coach at a meeting earlier this week.

“I’m very excited. I have great respect for (Ada athletic director Bryan Harwell). We plan to get the softball program up and running,” Canida said. “I see all the other sports right now at Ada doing well ... and we want to get Ada softball up there as well.”

Canida met with a group of Ada’s returning softball players on Wednesday.

“It went really good. We have a good number,” she said.

Her message to the Lady Cougars was loud and clear.

“We’re going to work our tails off. I’m going to love them and I’m going to do whatever I can for them, but we’re going to work really hard and do things the right way,” Canida said. “But we’re going to have fun while we do it.”

Canida takes over a program that didn’t win a game last fall, finishing the season with an 0-24 record. Softball offseason workouts and weight lifting will begin Monday, March 26, and Canida can’t wait to get to know her team better.

“We have some good athletes and some young players coming up that will help. I’ll know more about what to expect once we start our spring workouts,” she said.

After graduating from Roff, Canida spent two years as a collegiate player at Connors State University in Warner. She then played at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford her junior year before suffering a back injury during preseason workouts as a senior. That ended her playing days prematurely, but she was an assistant coach for the Lady Bulldogs that spring.

Canida was hired as an East Central University assistant softball coach last July, but due to budget cuts she had to leave that position in November. She is currently a physical education teacher at Hayes Grade Center.

“We are excited to announce that Taylor Canida will be our new head softball coach. Taylor is well-known throughout this area, and we feel like she is the perfect fit for our softball program and is a great addition to our coaching staff,” Harwell said.  

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.