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Shane Walker has stepped down as Central York’s softball coach to pursue a new opportunity at York College.

Walker, who started coaching the Panthers in 2014, has accepted an assistant coaching job with the York College Spartans softball team. Walker had worked on the York College staff last season, as well as coaching at Central.

“I was very lucky and proud to be part of the Central program,” Walker said. “The coaching staff, the kids and the athletic department was spectacular for me there. It really comes down to I had an opportunity to advance my coaching career. … It was an opportunity for me that I wanted to take advantage of.”

In three seasons with the Central softball program, Walker went 60-8, with a 38-5 record in divisional play. He also helped lead the Panthers to back-to-back YAIAA championships and appearances in the District 3 playoffs.

The new Spartans’ assistant coach said he felt the college program was a good fit. Following the end of both the high school and college softball seasons, Walker took some time to discuss the situation with his family and decided he could not pass up the opportunity, he said.

Walker notified his players during a meeting with the team Wednesday. The players’ parents were also invited.

The outgoing coach called it “a rough thing.” Walker has close ties to the school, with both of his children graduating from Central as well as his wife serving as an employee in the district.

“Like anything, I think there was some level of disappointment from the young ladies,” Walker said. “Most of them were very positive, though, in wishing me well. I certainly expect Central to continue to be a very strong team and do some great things here in the future.”

Notifying the returning players was important to Walker, who didn’t want them to find out the news from anyone else.

“I did not want them to find out through social media or what have you,” he said. “I wanted to have an opportunity to tell them face to face. I think that’s an important thing.”

In his new role with the NCAA Division III program Walker will not only serve as an assistant, but he also will be involved in recruiting and other areas as needed.

Walker said he plans to keep up with the team and catch a few games when his schedule allows.

“There’s still a bit of talent at Central so there’s always going to be an interest there,” Walker said. “I’ve been there doing something for a long period of time. That’s always going to have a special place to me.”

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