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Fernandes taking God’s direction; departing Putnam for S.C.

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    Taylor Fernandes has some words of instruction during the Summer Series play. MATTHEW BROWN/Staff

In the end, Taylor Fernandes knows she must follow God’s will for her life. She is a head high school softball coach, but she wants her players to learn more than just the fundamentals of the game from her. The 27-year-old is a teacher but sees family matters and what she can be in the future as a wife and mother as a greater priority.

After one season as Putnam County High’s head coach, Fernandes announced that she will be moving on to Anderson, S.C., where she will be softball coach and physical education teacher at Belton-Honea Path High School.

Even though Fernandes was part of the War Eagles for just one year – moving to Eatonton after two years teaching social studies and coaching volleyball and soccer at Washington-Wilkes High – she developed a serious love for the players in the program and the community. However, there’s another serious love in her life she’s had to take into consideration.

And then there’s her love for the Lord.

Fernandes said it was a month ago that she learned of the opportunity in Anderson, which is where her significant other, Cody, lives and works. She said the two have carried on a long-distance relationship for the past three years, and it was that distance that kept their relationship from progressing.

But the decision put before her was not an easy one. In fact, her initial inclination was to not pursue the new job.

“God had other plans,” said Fernandes. “I have to obey Him. I ended up going to the interview and accepted the position.

“It’s too good an offer to let pass. It’s a lateral move. And I’ll be closer to immediate family.”

Even talking about it last week, Fernandes couldn’t help but get emotional.

“It’s heartbreaking to leave,” she said. Her War Eagle players know of her pending departure and have thrown their full support behind their coach. Fernandes is in fact still their coach through the remainder of the summer as she is committed to helping prepare them for the 2021 fall season as much as she can.

Her last day is July 29 when Putnam County wraps up Summer Series games.

“It’s that time,” said Fernandes about considering the future as a wife and mother. “I can’t question God’s plans.”

When thinking about what was accomplished at Putnam County High in just one year, that’s when the emotions really welled up.

“I hope I instilled confidence in my girls,” said Fernandes. “And that I love them. It goes beyond softball. I hope I taught them about softball, but I want to teach them how to be a better person … play together as a team and family.”

Putnam County athletic director Paul Stokes said he is looking at all options both internally and outside the school on who will take over as softball head coach. He said he has met with and interviewed a couple of candidates but could not say for certain at the end of last week if it is possible to bring in someone from the outside so close to the start of the season.

“We will do our best to build our program in the right direction,” said Stokes.