Fort Mill’s Chuck Stegall looks to put together one last run for the Jackets at a state title before calling it a career.

Fort Mill head softball coach Chuck Stegall knows there isn’t many more wins left for him to get. If he can get six more, he will be happy.

Fort Mill needs six more wins to claim a 5A state championship. For Stegall, this attempt at a run for a state championship will be his last. Stegall is retiring after this season after nearly 20 years with the Jackets program. Before his time as head coach, he served as an assistant with the program and was a JV head coach as well.

During his time with Fort Mill he consistently has made the program contenders for a state title. Fort Mill has been in the mix for years with Stegall steering the ship. But now he said, it is time to hand the steering wheel to someone else.

His biggest reasons for stepping down now he said is his health.

“My body is tired,” he said. “I have had to have three back surgeries. I got a metal knee. My body is just tired. And after every game and most practices, by the time I get home I have to put three or four bags of ice on my legs, my hip and my back. Physically, I can’t do it anymore.”

Stegall said he tries to push his team to give 100 percent all the time, and when he knew physically he couldn’t do so as well, it was time to retire.

“I still enjoy the game, but I feel like I can’t give 100 percent to the game,” he said. “I tell the girls if you can’t give 100 percent, you are either all in or you are all out. Physically I don’t feel like I am able to give 100 percent to what they need. This team has to be pushed and I am trying to push, but my body doesn’t let me sometimes. And when it is like that, I got to roll it up.”

Since coming on the scene as a head coach, Stegall has been able to lead Fort Mill to a region championships on a more consistent basis than the program has ever seen. But not only that, within the past seven years he has also got the program to where it is winning District titles and contending in the Upper State bracket.

“In the last seven years or so we have won region championships every year but one and we were co-Region champions this year with Clover,” he said. “And we have won District championships since 2016 (minus 2020 when season was cancelled because of COVID).”

This year, Stegall said this team is more than capable of winning a District title, but the biggest hurdle has always been the Upper State bracket and the biggest nemesis has been Byrnes. Stegall knows this is his last chance for David to stop Goliath.

“People talk about it like, you lost in the Upper State championship like five times by one run,” he said. “And I am like, I know. Don’t remind me.”

Despite how far Stegall may lead the Jackets this season, he will coach the North-South All-Star game in June as his last official game. Through it all, Stegall said he will obviously miss the players, but the one thing he said he will miss the most is trying to bring the best out of them.

“Trying to get them to do things that they are uncomfortable doing, to get them to turn into being good at it,” he said. “Like turning a kid around and teaching her to be a great slap (hitter). Teaching a kid with no confidence in driving the ball out of the park to driving the ball out of the park. To see the things, you teach them and work on in practice to all of a sudden, they do it in practice and they do it in a game. Then to see that confidence and watch that light go off, keeps me doing it. I am going to miss watching a player develop into that type of player. I’m not going to miss the long bus rides or the practices or the games we should have won by more than we did. I’m going to miss them taking it up that extra notch.”

For Stegall, taking the Fort Mill softball program up that extra notch is what his legacy will ultimately be remembered for when that last inning is finally over. As the elder statesman of local high school softball, others like Catawba Ridge softball head coach Michael Kidd, that have coached with him and against him said Stegall’s imprint on the game is long lasting.

“Chuck is a player’s coach,” Kidd said. “He’s devoted many years to the players and the game. I have certainly enjoyed my time coaching with him and against him. I admire how committed he is to the sport and his family.”

Mac Banks:, @fortprep