Cat Guidry begins her day working as a volunteer assistant to Karen Yoder, the athletic director at Calistoga Junior-Senior High School.
Later in the day, Guidry heads south to Vintage High School, where she is in her first year as the head softball coach for the Crushers.
It’s a busy schedule, but one that Guidry, who has a college background in the game, welcomes very much. She gets to learn first-hand from Yoder, her coach for two seasons at UC Davis, about athletic administration. She also gets to lead the Vintage program, working with the players in all aspects of the game.
“I think Cat has such a positive presence and is really passionate about the sport and also about students,” Yoder said Monday. “I think she will be a great asset for Vintage High School. She is a leader – the first one to get in there and have a smile and has a great attitude and work ethic.
“She is an aspiring athletic administrator. She has been tremendous for us. I’m very proud of her, very proud of her.”
The Napa Valley Unified School District’s Board of Education approved Guidry’s hiring last month. She takes over for Saanen Kerson, who resigned in December after three years as Vintage’s coach. The Crushers were 12-10 overall, 9-6 in the Monticello Empire League last year.
Vintage opened the 2018 season by losing to Montgomery-Santa Rosa in a nonleague game, 18-0, in five innings. The Crushers also scrimmaged three teams in Antelope.
Kerson led the Crushers to two appearances in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and a 49-23 overall record.
“I wish the program continued success – those that play and coach there,” said Kerson, who was inducted into the Vintage Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. “I had an opportunity to work with really great coaches and players the last three years.”
Kerson is a 1992 graduate who as a pitcher set a state record for most wins in a single season with 33. She was the most valuable pitcher on the All-Monticello Empire League team and played two years of college softball at Cal.
“Saanen stepping in a few years ago came at a time when we needed to have a calming influence,” said Cam Neal, Vintage’s athletic director. “There were some pretty big challenges that stood in her way and she handled them with grace and dignity. I have nothing but respect for Saanen and I wish her well as she takes on more and more responsibilities with her family business.”
Kerson is the Associate Director of Vine Village, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides residential and day programs for adults with developmental disabilities.
Guidry, 24, is a native of Vallejo and received first-team All-Sierra Valley Conference honors in each of her final two seasons at Vista del Lago High in Folsom, from which she graduated in 2012. She was the team MVP and Offensive Player of the Year both years.
Guidry played the 2013 and 2014 seasons as a center fielder for UC Davis.
She batted .271 in 25 games with three RBIs and eight stolen bases in 2013.
Guidry batted .273 with 35 hits and scored a team-high 23 runs in 53 games during the 2014 season. She had a triple, eight RBIs and 10 steals.
“She could dissect defenses better than anybody,” said Yoder, UC Davis’ head coach for 10 years.
Guidry did not play her last two years, as she elected to focus on her academics. She graduated from UC Davis in 2016, earning a degree in African American studies, with minors in coaching and education.
“I learned so much from being a student-athlete,” she said. “It’s hard. It’s a lot of work that you have to put in. I loved the two years that I did play. I wish I could have played the last two years.
“It was an awesome experience. You learn a lot from it.”
At Calistoga, Guidry has coached seventh-grade volleyball and eighth-grade basketball, and served as an assistant coach for varsity girls soccer.
“I’m learning everything,” she said. “I’m getting so much experience in working with kids, working with athletics. I’m learning a lot about what the deeper part of what an athletic director does.”
She works closely with Yoder.
“She has shown me so many things, outside of just being an assistant to her, that I will forever cherish and take on,” said Guidry.
Guidry was the head junior varsity softball coach at Dixon High last year. She has been an assistant coach for age-group teams for the Delta Diamonds, a travel tournament softball organization in Davis.
“I am absolutely thrilled to have Cat join Vintage High as our softball head coach,” said Neal. “She brings incredible optimism and an upbeat attitude that gives our girls and our program a new outlook. I love how she’s a new face in Napa’s softball community – she will be a breath of fresh air.
“I think the sky’s the limit. She wants to be on our campus, wants to be a teacher/coach, wants to mentor young women not only in softball, but in life. Cat is an educator at heart and I truly believe we have found a great coach for our young ladies for years to come.”
Guidry, who is assisted by Keri Sedgley and Charley Carbone, is looking to build a program at Vintage. And that begins with everyone working hard, she pointed out.
“Our girls look awesome. They are definitely hard workers and they’re competitive,” said Guidry, who makes her home in St. Helena. “I can’t wait to see what this season brings. I know there’s some good competition out there.
“We’re not going to take practice lightly, whether we’re in the gym because it’s raining or we’re outside when it’s windy or 100 degrees. We’re going to learn this year and it’s going to be a stepping stone to build this program hopefully and move forward.”
Sedgley was inducted into the Vintage Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. The 1997 graduate was a standout in softball, receiving All-Napa County honors each of her four years, All-Monticello Empire League recognition three of those years, and the Crushers’ MVP award. She went on to play at Solano Community College and Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan.