- Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 20:41
- Published on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 20:41
- Hits: 973
The Drifters sports programs will not miss beat because they are in good hands. The stewardship of athletic director is now in the hands of area sports icon Steve Swope.
Swope replaces Jeremy Jack who has gone on to replace Dan Dickey at Caroline High School in the position of athletic director. Prior to Jack’s three-year tenure as the Drifter’s athletic director, Colonial Beach School Board member Wayne Kennedy held the position for 39 years. In light of Swope’s numerous contributions to the sports programs at Colonial Beach High School and his devotion to every aspect of his beloved
community, current and aspiring Drifters can feel secure that Swope will continue to keep the sports programs competitive.
“I thought we were always going to be in good hands, but when Jeremy left, I talked it over with my wife, and my longtime assistant coach, Randy Jones,” Swope said. “We came to an agreement that this was something that I should probably look into.”
After 32 years of coaching and teaching, the Virginia Tech graduate and native of Colonial Beach is eager to implement his wisdom and sports knowledge as an administrator.
“I want to instill Drifter pride into as many people as I can in this town, and that includes our coaches, our kids and every civic group, business and community member that I can,” Swope said.
Swope’s legacy of decorating the walls of the Drifterdome and Monroe Park with championship banners is without equal. With 476 victories as the head baseball coach and 517 basketball wins, including a state championship, his legacy for winning is cemented in Drifter “Black & Gold” pride for eternity.
Throughout the year, Swope and his cast of coaches and volunteers open the gates of Monroe Park and the doors of the Drifterdome for hundreds of kids to fulfill their athletic dreams through the mechanism of camps and clinics. As athletic director, he will have greater access to the high school and its facilities.
“Nowadays, all coaches have to go out and market their programs,” Swope said. “In today’s times it’s tougher to get kids to come out, sweat and really be committed without the distractions that the world has to offer them today.”
As a physical education and health teacher at Colonial Beach Middle School, Swope has coached kids from the time they were able to grasp the understanding of competitive sports to becoming standout athletes.
“It’s my belief that you have to grab them, while they are young — and watch them grow within your program,” Swope said. “It’s something we’ve done here at the Beach for years.”
Competing in a district such as the Northern Neck, which features schools with an average of 740 students will continue to be a monumental task for Swope. He has experienced first hand the battles from playing in a small independent school conference (Delaney Athletic Conference) to the rigors of the Virginia High School League conferences (Tidewater, Northern Neck).
“I think the Northern Neck is one of the most athletic sports conferences in the state of Virginia for single-A schools,” Swope said. “It’s never an easy game, when you have to strap them on to play Neck opponents.”
Instead of relying on past deeds of success, or allowing school size to become a distraction, Swope is delighted to step up to the plate to lead and develop the Drifters into one of the best sports programs in the area.
“What we have to do is rub our hands together and realize we’re in the big boy conference (Northern Neck),” Swope said. “We’re going to take that challenge and be successful as we can be in all sports in that particular conference.”
Swope like his predecessors is keenly aware that the key to beating the odds is commitment and dedication during the off-season.
“We know we’re underdogs — every morning we wake up and never step back from the challenges that stand before us,” Swope said.