- Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 15:53
- Published on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 15:53
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An area sports legend takes a sabbatical
After 30 years and numerous championships, varsity baseball and basketball head coach Steve Swope (left) has decided to take a sabbatical from coaching. He will maintain his teaching job at Colonial Beach Elementary School as a physical education teacher.
After 30 years covering the walls of the Drifterdome with championship banners, Swope will allow Casey Johnson to serve as interim varsity basketball head coach and legendary Drifter gridiron great Earl Payton to serve in the same temporary capacity as varsity baseball head coach.
The decision to take a break and recharge his interest for coaching was tough pill to digest, but being the true competitor that Swope has always been, he will continue share his wisdom in a non-hands-on capacity for the one year that he is away.
“After completing my 30th year, I remember the goal during my youth of leaving this profession with good health and high energy,” Swope said. “For now, I want to follow the signs of my supreme being, and all the signs have said that this is a great way to exit — after coming off a state championship and winning my fifth consecutive baseball championship.”
Swope has taken the sports programs associated with Colonial Beach High School to places that no other coach in the past 100 years of the school’s existence has ever been. The Drifters Group A, Division 1 State Championship win would be a wonderful curtain for most people, but Swope is not the average run-of-the-mill coach. Throughout his career Swope has produced more victories for the Drifters sports program than any coach before him. In fact, his 512-237 record in basketball resulted in 12 championships, including a region and state championship, 14 Coach of the Year District awards, one Region Coach of the Year Award, one State Coach of the Year Award and one FLS Area Coach of the Year Award.
As a baseball coach, Swope’s career reach astronomical proportions as he won 11 District tournament championships, 12 District Coach of the Year awards, one Region Coach of the Year, and three FLS Area Coach of the Year awards.
As an athlete at Colonial Beach, he played in the Northern Neck District. Later, as a coach, he competed in the Tri-State Conference, Delaney Athletic Conference and Tidewater District.
He also witnessed and coached all three of his sons become successful in baseball and basketball. Joey, Tyler and Kevin Swope distinguished themselves as true athletes, both on and off the field. Their sports achievements are a part of Drifter lore.
As for the fate of the Drifters sports programs as they enter the 2009 fall sports season, Swope is adamant that Colonial Beach will be a force wherever it competes.
“I don’t know if we will be as talented as we have been in the last several years due to graduation losses, but we will always be competitive, because we are the Beach,” Swope said.