Michele Cahill has decided not to return for a fifth season as Gloucester High softball coach.The mother of former Fishermen softball players Nora and Atlee Cahill would like to spend more time with her daughters, who are both enrolled at Merrimack College. Nora recently finished her second season on Merrimack's tennis team. Atlee plans to play softball in the spring."It's time for me to support my daughters," Michele Cahill said. "I feel fortunate having them 45 minutes away. It looks like I'll be going to collegiate games for a while."Cahill spent seven years with the Gloucester softball program, serving as an assistant to Lou McGrath for the first three. In McGrath's final season, the Fishermen won a Northeastern Conference championship."We had a real winning tradition under Coach McGrath," Cahill said. "We always made it to the tournament. I felt compelled to do what he did."Gloucester missed the Eastern Mass. tournament by one game in Cahill's first season. In Year 2, the Fishermen returned to the tournament, losing in the first round to Cambridge. Cahill's team advanced through the opening round the following season, before losing to Reading in the quarterfinal. Last year's Fishermen had their best finish under Cahill, advancing to the Division 2 North semifinals."I think we improved every year," Cahill said. "I'm leaving the program in a very good position. We have enough veterans returning that we should continue our run of success."Cahill also served as a volleyball coach at Hamilton-Wenham during her tenure at Gloucester. She did not return to that position this fall for family reasons.Cahill will be remembered throughout the Northeastern Conference for her fondness for pitching and defense. Her teams were known for manufacturing runs through sacrifice bunts, stolen bases and suicide squeezes."She'll be missed," Salem coach Dan Bertram said. "Her players really respected her. They understood her style of play."Bertram was 0-6 against Cahill in this three years as Salem's coach. Many of the losses came with Cahill's daughter - Atlee - on the mound."(Coach Cahill) always had strong pitching and good defense," Bertram said. "It's too bad she's leaving. It would've been nice to play her again this year."Cahill's final team overcame the loss of Atlee in the preseason due to a torn knee ligament. The team made a surprising run through the state tournament, culminating with a 9-8 semifinal loss to Peabody."She was very committed to the program," Gloucester athletic director Kim Patience said. "She's also obviously very committed to her family. We'll have to find someone who can lead the team the way she did."Patience opened the position to the faculty members within the Gloucester High faculty but did not receive a response from a qualified applicant. She plans to broaden the search to any interested applicants.

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