Stayce York has complete control over the classroom and the diamond. The Tulare native, who played softball for Chico State from 1990-94, became a fifth-grade teacher at Emma Wilson Elementary and the varsity softball coach at Chico High School in the late ’90s. She’s been juggling the two for more than a decade now, and doesn’t see herself stopping anytime soon. The balance, she says, is one that she welcomes and probably couldn’t live without. Her students and players, whom she says she treats basically the same, probably don’t even notice her double responsibility. Settled firmly now in Chico with her husband, Kevin, and two sons, Trenton and Austin, York seems set to preach the fundamentals of math in the morning and throw curveballs in the afternoon for a long time to come.
How’d you end up in Chico?
I got recruited to play softball here, and then I knew I wanted to be a teacher—Chico State has always had a good program. I was done in four years (at Chico State) and had my credential in the fifth year.
What’s the difference between Mrs. and Coach York?
There’s really not a lot of difference … I parent and I teach and I coach with the same philosophy: Have fun, but with lots of guidelines to follow. There are a lot of life skills to learn both athletically and academically and I push my students and athletes to their full potential. There’s really not a lot of difference, except for the kids, they need mostly love and encouragement. With the girls, I can raise my voice whenever I want to raise my voice.
What kinds of problems arise in juggling the two?
My career is in teaching; softball is a passion of mine. We probably make a penny an hour to be a coach—that’s not really why you coach. I’ve been doing it long enough to juggle it … but leaving class a little early, and thinking about the big game while preparing students for a test, it’s tough. I have to leave sometimes at 12 because we have a game on the road. If I got a job at Chico State or something like that, I couldn’t leave. Because I’m coaching within the district they pay for me to be gone half a day.
Ever have any former students play for you?
That means I’m old! I’ve had three overall so far. It’s different, we’ll talk about old field trips … I have one coming right now, and she keeps calling me Mrs. York, Mrs. York, she can’t get away from it. It’s like, it’s not Mrs. York out here.