- Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 20:47
- Published on Tuesday, 19 April 2011 20:47
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It was a day inspired with Drifter pride. Saturday, April 16 will forever be a momentous day in Colonial Beach Sports history.
After 32 years of coaching in the Colonial Beach School system, Steve Swope was inducted with three other sports notables into the 12th annual Northern Neck Sports Wall of Fame induction program. Swope is the first person from the Colonial Beach area to be inducted into the sports shrine.
“I’m from a small underdog community that firmly believes in Drifter pride,” Swope said during the Hall of
Fame ceremony at the Community House in Kilmarnock. “We look out for the big bad areas of the Northern Neck because we have to be competitive against them. We’ve always taken a lot of pride in that, and it’s certainly special for me to be a part of this.”
The ceremony coincided with the official opening of the 2011 Little League baseball season on the grounds of Dream Fields baseball facilities.
Swope’s qualifications are symbolic of what all coaches dream of: His basketball career included a 517 wins with a winning percentage of nearly 70 percent. During the 2008-2009 season, he engineered and led his team to a VHSL Group A Division I State Basketball Championship. He also won the VHSL Region A Championship during the 2008-2009 season. In addition, he won 12 District Championships.
Individual coaching awards include: VHSL State Coach of the Year, VHSL Region Coach of the Year, 14-time winner of the District Coach of the Year, FLS Area Coach of the Year.
Swope’s current baseball statistics will change over the course of the next couple of years because his team is currently near the top of the Northern Neck District with a 7-2 record. However, the sports icon continues to raise the bar on excellence with a current record of 468 victories — a winning percentage of 69 percent. His next milestone in baseball is 500 victories. His baseball achievements include 11 District Championships, 12 District Coach of the Year Awards, and three FLS Area Coach of the Year awards.
While a litany of athletes attribute their collegiate and professional athletic success to the Drifters sports system under Swope, the legacy that will forever become a part of Drifter lore are the numerous baseball and basketball camps and clinics that he has developed over the years. Because of Swope, youth in Colonial Beach have a reason to dream the reality of wearing a Drifter Black & Gold uniform someday. Evidence of Swope’s signature on area sports are the championship banners that nearly cover the walls of the Drifterdome.
Will there be another Steve Swope? The answer is simple: Not in this lifetime. The mold is broken. He is more than a positive role model for aspiring coaches; he is a living example of hard work and commitment. His desire to achieve the extraordinary by encouraging youth to think outside the athletic box is legendary.
Also honored during the ceremony were former Lancaster basketball head coach Lloyd Carrier, Jr., and, posthumously, softball and baseball pioneer Winter H. “Shortie” McCrobie, and harness racer Willie Webb.
Along with Swope’s family, wife, Ann, sons Joey, Tyler and Kevin; Drifter varsity baseball coaching staff Randy Jones and Jonathan Parker; former Colonial Beach High School athletic director Wayne Kennedy; and former players and friends from the community were the following past inductees of the Hall of Fame: James A. “Jim” Coates, Carroll Lee Ashburn, Wardell Carter, Demetrius Means and Danny Haynie.
Ashurn, who currently works along side Means as sportscasters for 101.7 WKW1 is the founder of the prestigious Wall of Fame. Means, a board member of the Wall of Fame had the honor of informing Swope via telephone of the his impending induction into the Hall of Fame.
“It’s an honor to have him aboard, because he is truly one of the great coaches of the Northern Neck,” Means said.
Sports fans interested in viewing Swope’s enshrinement plague along with the cast of 33 other legends can visit the Wall of Fame, located inside the Sports Center at 60 South Main St., in downtown Kilmarnock.