After two decades with the Marysville High School softball program, Chris Shirer stepped down to join the Ohio Dominican University women's softball team as an assistant coach.

After two decades with the Marysville High School softball program, Chris Shirer stepped down to join the Ohio Dominican University women's softball team as an assistant coach.

"I've always wanted to go in that direction," Shirer said. "I was getting stale, and I personally needed a new challenge."

Shirer arrived in Marysville in 1978 and two years later he was the school's athletics director. In 1982, Shirer hired Larry Fox to coach the softball team and was an assistant under Fox from 1990-98. In 1998, their roles reversed and remained that way for the last 12 seasons.

Shirer finished with an overall record of 270-78 with five OCC titles, five Division I district championships and finished a regional runner-up three times.

"I contemplated leaving a lot because it's tough leaving these kids," Shirer said. "They're a good group here. They play hard and they practice hard."

Shirer will be Ohio Dominican's infield coach under coach Marcella Vanlandingham, who is in her 15th season. Vanlandingham's owns the highest winning percentage in program history at 59.3 percent (447-307 record).

"I've known her for about 10 years," Shirer said. "We've worked camps together, and her and I have talked about my interest in college coaching. After the season ended last June I shot her an e-mail. She got back to me in July, I interviewed in August and the rest is history."

ODU, which competes in the NAIA, finished 29-25 last season.

In addition to his duties at ODU, Shirer will remain as a full-time teacher at Marysville for a couple more school years until retirement.

"I'll be coaching a little higher caliber of athlete," Shirer said. "They're on scholarship and I'll be learning recruiting and the whole college game. My day-to-day duties will be coaching the entire infield, calling bunt defense and making sure their responsibilities are fulfilled."

Meanwhile, Marysville has begun its coaching search. Last season, Marysville finished 22-8 overall and tied Olentangy Liberty for first in the OCC-Cardinal at 11-3.

"At this point we are accepting applications," Marysville athletics director Cal Adams said. "No timetable has been set as far as hiring a new coach. We are actually looking for a head coach, varsity assistant and a junior varsity coach."