When Kirby Overcash left West Lincoln in the middle of the year, in favor of North Mecklenburg, principal Mitch Sherrill and athletic director Wayne Navey were left without a softball coach.
A month and a half later, they have selected their replacement. Mia Cooke, who has coached at West Lincoln Middle School three seasons and the JV team for two, is now the varsity softball coach.
Cookeâ€™s track record is impressive as her JV team went 7-3 last season. Her Lady Chiefs won the East Division of the Tri-County Conference and were runner-ups to Chase.
Navey has no doubt Cooke will do well, pointing to the fact she is easy to relate to by the kids.
â€œSheâ€™s worked hard as a JV coach and with the middle school program. The kids like her and sheâ€™ll do whatâ€™s best for our kids. Sheâ€™ll coach softball at the middle school in the fall, then sheâ€™ll do our softball in the spring. The kids love her death and sheâ€™ll do well,â€ he said.
â€œWe had a coach that left us in the middle of the year and Mia was willing to step in and take over and we certainly appreciate it,â€ Navey said.
While the administration appreciates Cookeâ€™s eagerness, Cooke is appreciative and excited.
â€œI was surprised the opportunity to rise so quickly, came so early. I wasnâ€™t expecting it for another couple of years. Iâ€™m especially grateful to Mr. Sherrill and Coach Navey for the opportunity and although I think this will be challengingâ€”itâ€™s a challenge I await,â€ she said.
Cooke knows following behind long-time coach Allen Hoyle wonâ€™t be easy.
â€œIâ€™m really excited about this position. Itâ€™s going to be hard to follow in his footsteps because he was successful on the field, as well as in the community.â€
Ian Upton will be the new JV coach, while Jason Turner will assist Cooke on the varsity level.
â€œIan is a former athlete and Jason Turner has been teaching a couple of years now and heâ€™s helped out in basketball. Jasonâ€™s a former high-school player and theyâ€™ll all three work together with the softball team,â€ Navey said.
The Rebels will also have a new track coach. David Avery, who has coached West Lincoln the past two years, will step aside this season due to his wife Abby having a baby.
Basketball coach Chad Wright will fill in for Avery as menâ€™s coach. Navey believes Wright will do a solid job.
â€œHeâ€™s great guy. He works hard at everything he does. Heâ€™ll work well with the boys,â€ he said.
Tom Sain will head the womenâ€™s team with Anna Butler, whom Sain hand-picked. Butler was a distance-runner in college and will assist in those events. Navey believes Sainâ€™s previous track experience will aid him this time around.
â€œTom has coached here for a lot of years and heâ€™s always willing to step up and do whatever it takes for our kids to be successful,â€ he said.
by John Mark Brooks