Paula Armstrong leaving

After 10 years, Decatur Heritage's head coach Paula Armstrong is leaving the school for a position at Westminster Christian in Huntsville. [DAN BUSEY/DECATUR DAILY]

Paula Armstrong said it was time to consider a new adventure.

She found one, but unfortunately it will take her away from Decatur Heritage.

Armstrong has been hired as a teacher and assistant volleyball coach at Westminster Christian in Huntsville.

“I love Decatur Heritage and was not seriously looking to leave,” Armstrong said. “We have a new administration coming in and I thought maybe it was a good time to see what else is out there.”

Armstrong has been the girls basketball coach for 10 years. She’s also been the girls volleyball coach for the last three years. She and her husband Patrick are looking to eventually settle in Huntsville to be closer to family.

“We’re really going to miss Paula,” Decatur Heritage athletic director Ty Patterson said. “She did a great job and really elevated our girls program. She will be hard to replace.”

In fact it may take two people to replace Armstrong. Decatur Heritage is advertising to fill the two coaching positions separately. Patterson said that through mid-day Tuesday that he already received 14 resumes.

“Coaching both teams has really been a grind,” Armstrong said. “My husband said he will glad to have me at home for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Armstrong took over the program in 2012 after John Cochran resigned. The team had won six games the previous season and had one returning senior. In 2013 and 2014, the Eagles advanced to the subregional round.

In 2015 and 2016, Decatur Heritage made it all the way to the state tournament in Birmingham. Eventual state champion Keith beat Decatur Heritage in the semifinals in 2015. Linden ended Decatur Heritage’s season in the 2016 semifinals.

After getting beat in the subregional in 2017, Decatur Heritage had a three-year run of advancing to the regional round. This past season ended with Decatur Heritage losing to defending 1A state champion Phillips, 50-46, in the Northwest Regional semifinals. It was also the final game for Katie Jones, the Class 1A Player of the Year, who will play for Samford this fall.

Next year’s team returns 10 players off last season’s roster. That includes Elizabeth Wilson and Sarah Grace Stubblefield, who are both listed at 6-foot-1.

Armstrong was the assistant volleyball coach at Decatur Heritage in 2016 when the Eagles advanced to the Class 1A state championship match. Head coach Kelly Garland resigned after that season and Armstrong became head coach.

Expectations were low for Decatur Heritage volleyball in 2017, but the team got hot at the end of the season and advanced to the state tournament semifinals.

“That’s one of the great things about coaching at Decatur Heritage,” Armstrong said. “The girls really care about the program and work hard to be successful. As a coach you can’t ask for more than that.”

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