MELISSA – After back-to-back undefeated district-title runs and a school-record 32 wins last season, Melissa Lady Cardinals head coach Heather Lane has decided to step away from the game, at least for now. After presenting awards to her team at the Melissa girls’ athletic banquet on May 31, Lane cited some tough personal-life situations as contributing to her decision to “slow down the pace a little bit.” Those included losing her father to cancer during the Lady Cards’ playoff run last season and, now, helping to care for her mother after major surgery and other health issues.

Lane also noted as a factor the “daily grind” of being a coach. She was an assistant coach for Melissa volleyball as well. “Volleyball crossing over with basketball for about a month, that’s a pretty tough situation to be in,” she said.

“I just appreciate the girls at Melissa,” Lane said. “It was a hard decision to make. They work so hard. They’re still going to be really good next year. And some eighth-graders have a chance to make varsity. … I appreciate the community and the people that came to watch the girls play. It was fun to be a part of that. We made history together.”

Lane said she has accepted the girls’ athletic coordinator position at Dowell Middle School in McKinney, noting she has known McKinney ISD athletic director Shawn Pratt for some time. “It moved pretty fast,” she said. “It just was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Lane led the Lady Cards for three campaigns, losing just two district games along the way — both in her first year at the helm when Melissa claimed a second-place finish and advanced to the area round of the playoffs. In her second season, the Lady Cards swept to 10-0 in district play and again reached the area round. This past season, after a second-straight 10-0 run through district play, the Lady Cards thumped Terrell then topped Wilmer-Hutchins in a thriller before falling to Sanger in a rousing regional-quarterfinal battle. Melissa finished with a program-best 32 wins.

Prior to receiving the Lady Cards’ reins from head coach Claude Webb in 2015, Lane was Webb’s assistant for three years while also coaching junior high ball. Webb became girls’ athletic director at Melissa when Lane succeeded him. “I’ve known Coach Lane for a long time,” Webb said, also after the banquet. “All the way back when she was head coach at Sherman. I saw what a great job she did there. I saw how her kids responded to her. When she became available, I went after her. … And fortunately for us, she felt like Melissa was the right place for her. She’s done nothing but a great job the last three years. She’s a great woman of character and a great family person. My friend - and I have nothing but the utmost respect for her. She knows how to coach.”

“I appreciate Coach Webb giving me the opportunity to lead the Lady Cardinals for the past three years,” Lane said. “It’s been a fun run.”

The Lane Years

District record: 28-2

Overall record: 69-32

2015-16 season: 16-15, 8-2

Second place, area finalist

2016-17 season: 21-13, 10-0

District champs, area finalist

2017-18 season: 32-4, 10-0

District champs, regional quarterfinalist