New coaches at Spring Creek High School
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on June 14, 2006 2:06 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- When Spring Creek's baseball coach Roger May and softball coach Sonny Kilpatrick both stepped down from those roles near the end of the school year, athletics director Roy Whitfield didn't panic.
Sure, he hated to lose two veteran leaders, but he was confident in two coaches "in house" -- Heath Whitfield and Deanna Morris -- to step up and fill the positions.
"You always have doubts when your coaches leave, but we were fortunate to have two that have been on our staff that know Spring Creek and know the students," Roy Whitfield said.
Both former middle school coaches in their respective sports, Whitfield and Morris are looking forward to the challenges of coaching at the varsity level.
"I'm excited about the challenge. Coach May has done a good job with the facility ... he's put a lot of time and effort in it," said Heath Whitfield, the son of long-time Southern Wayne and Wayne County Post 11 coach, Doyle Whitfield, and the nephew of Roy Whitfield. "The fundamentals are the same in all levels of baseball, but it's going to be different ... a lot more competition and pressure.
"I've got a great resource in my dad. He's great with pitchers, and I think he's going to come out and help us some."
Morris, who is also the varsity volleyball coach, believes some of the same coaching principles exist in all sports.
"In coaching anything, I build on 'character counts.' The foundation of integrity makes an athlete be the best they can be. Everything else falls into place."
Heath Whitfield inherits a program that finished just 3-20 overall and 2-8 in Class 1-A Carolina Conference play. On top of conducting voluntary workouts with the players this summer to improve their skills, he hopes to continue to instill more confidence in what will be a youthful team.
"We've got some good young talent, but I think their confidence level has been down the last couple of years. We'll still be young, but we've got some sophomores and juniors that have played a lot of baseball," he said. "I teach at the middle school, so most of these guys have played for me. They know what I want out of them."
Another young squad, Spring Creek's softball team, finished 2-18 overall and 1-9 in league play last year. The Gators return no seniors from that team. Before coaching the middle school team, Morris assisted Kilpatrick in the spring of 2005. She's hoping to continue to build upon Kilpatrick's foundation and is ready to work with familiar young players.
"He's (Kilpatrick) done great with the facility and he's got a rapport with the girls and their parents," Morris said. "Some of these girls have been playing since they were young and have been together for a long time. I've got several eighth graders that I've coached moving up to ninth grade."
Kilpatrick will maintain his positions as head boy's basketball coach and assistant football coach.
May, who has two children involved with athletics, said he stepped aside, "first and foremost to devote more time to seeing them play." He will move on to teach at North Drive Elementary.
"Sonny is like a legend around here. He's done softball since the school opened in '79 at some level," Roy Whitfield said. "He's been coaching three sports for a few years, so he wanted this to be his last year. Roger has also done a great job ... I would put our baseball field against anybody's. He's taught our kids to play the right way, and as a result we've got a few kids playing college baseball."
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