Preps: Davidson Academy puts softball field's name with face of the program

Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 11:38pm

For the 20 years she has roamed the third base coaching box, Stacy Swinnea has been the driving force and the face of Davidson Academy softball.

The veteran coach has brought notoriety to the 30-year-old school, located in Northern Davidson County. Her résumé includes three state championships, five region titles and nine district crowns along with more than 500 coaching wins.

On April 24, prior to the Bears’ 5 p.m. game with Ezell-Harding, the school formally will name the softball facility “Stacy Swinnea Field.”

“I was in a bit of a state of shock when our headmaster, Dr. Bill Chaney, and our AD, Kevin Harper, called me in about a week ago and told me about it,” she said. “I have been blessed through the years by having so many good athletes to work with, giving me something I’ve been able to build upon.

“I feel I was born to coach.”

Swinnea, the former Stacy Daniels, was a star three-sport athlete (volleyball, basketball, softball) when she played at old Madison High, then at Hunters Lane where she was part of the first graduating class in 1987. She made All-Nashville in basketball as a senior.

She then played two years at Vol State and finished at Tennessee Tech in 1992.  After a year as freshman coach at DA, she became head softball coach in 1994. Her first state title came in 2002 and tow more followed in 2008 and 2009.

“Stacy has been our softball coach for more than two decades, she’s won 500 games and through her leadership, our school has been to numerous state tournaments and has won three state championships,’’ Chaney said. “But her most valuable contribution to the mission of Davidson Academy has been her positive influence and being such a great role model in the lives of our students.”

Swinnea (pronounced SWEE nee) has – by far – the most seniority among the school’s coaches. She has seen many coaches come in all the other sports.

The 44-year-old remembers her first championship vividly. She was close to the birth of her second child, Griffin. The Bears beat Forrest in the finals on a Friday, and Griffin came along just 36 hours later early on a Sunday morning.

It is fitting that the field will be dedicated prior to the Ezell game.

“I have as much respect for Stacy as a softball coach as I do for my good friend Gary Davis who retired last year from Lipscomb,” Ezell-Harding coach Don Freudenthal, whose teams have won 12 state softball championships, said. “Stacy’s teams are always ready to play and can reach that extra level in the big games. They have always risen to the occasion when they play my team no matter the magnitude of the game.

“I was so excited for Stacy when her headmaster told me they were going to name their softball field for her on we visit them. He said she had requested that date because she wanted me there. We have been competitors for years, but friends as well.”

It won’t be the first time she has had a memorable moment against Ezell-Harding.

“[Freudenthal] will kill me when he sees this, but [a career highlight] would be when we beat Ezell 4-2 in the region in 2002, which helped get us to state where we won that year,” Swinnea said. “It was a breakthrough time for us. Also, I won my 500th game against Ezell last year.

“Don and I are good friends, but make no mistake, we certainly want to beat each other.”

Asked about the best players she’s coached, Swinnea named two from the 2002 team – pitcher Kristi Carpenter, who played at Louisville, and Amy Hutchins, who played basketball at Trevecca Nazarene.

She says she plans to coach “As long as they allow me to coach here. I love DA. It just seems like I’m among family. Everyone is so close.

“Both my sons are students here, Zac is in ninth grade, Griffin in fourth. Dr. Chaney is like a father figure to me. He is very wise and calms me down when need be. I’m thankful that I’ve been blessed to do something I love all these many years.”

She said her husband’s reaction to news of the dedication was “you deserve it.” He’s not the only one who feels that way.

“Stacy is truly an ambassador for girls softball,” Freudenthal said. “I know of no one more deserving of this honor.”

• Lipscomb names coach: Lipscomb Academy has named veteran defensive coach Scott Tillman as its interim football coach. He succeeds Glenn McCadams,  who died March 21 from complications of mantle cell lymphoma.

Tillman, 41, who was an assistant under McCadams for 19 seasons, will coach through the coming season. The school will name a permanent successor after that.

• Metro Hall of Fame: The annual Metro Nashville Hall of Fame luncheon Tuesday will honor Jerry Ballou (old Litton High), Michael Coleman (Stratford), Randolph Williamson (old Pearl High), Reginald Hayden (Pearl) and Sonny Lyons (Pearl) and Marynell Meadors (Hillsboro) as athletes and Chuck Lewis (Madison) as coach and Melvin Black (Pearl) as contributor. The event begins at 11 a.m. at LP Field.

• Track events: The 27th annual Doug Hall Relays will be held Saturday at the Montgomery Bell Academy track, with Brentwood Academy, Hunters Lane, Harpeth Hall and host MBA among some of the top teams competing in the all-relays event.

The meet starts at 9:30 a.m. and will name an outstanding boy and girl of the meet.

On April 16, the Great Eight meet will be held at the Vanderbilt track, with this season’s top eight performers in the Midstate for the events. An outstanding meet performer in both boys and girls division will be named.

• Grand beginning: Ezell-Harding started its softball season off with a bang March 14 when the first three batters hit home runs in a win over Cascade. Brittany Edmondson, Callen Griffin and Christiana Gable went back-to-back-to-back in the first inning. Gable also fired two straight shutouts, and eighth-grader Bree Sanders, making her first high school start, pitched a third straight shutout.

USN’s Garmezy to Yale: University School of Nashville star Sara Garmezy, who won the Division II-A state golf championship in 2011 and led the Tigers to the team title that year, has committed to Yale.