By Gene Phelps
By GENE PHELPS
Chris Kidd laughed when told the Daily Journal should consider naming its fast-pitch softball Coach of the Year award after him.
Kidd, who directed Nettleton’s Lady Tigers to their second straight Class 3A state championship last month, has been named the Journal’s top coach in the sport for the third consecutive season.
“I’ve got to credit this team,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good players.”
Kidd, who edged North Pontotoc’s Shane Montgomery and Houston’s Keith Jernigan for the honor, also credited his assistant coaches – Dana Rhea and Joe McCommon – for the Lady Tigers’ success.
“Dana and Joe do an excellent job,” he said. “We couldn’t have gotten close to where we are without them. They go above and beyond.
“The key is we all think alike when it comes to getting things done.”
Rhea, who coached many of these same players to a slow-pitch state championship in the fall, handles the offensive and defensive chores with Kidd while McCommon works with the pitchers.
Actually, Kidd is a five-time Journal postseason award winner. He was tabbed slowpitch Coach of the Year in 2002 after leading Ingomar to a state title. In 1990, he was named the Journal’s Player of the Year in baseball, his senior season for Ingomar.
“I’ve never been one to pat myself on the back,” he said. “I’m by no means the smartest coach around.
“I’ve had good kids, kids who want to win. The group we had this year has a gift … they don’t know when to quit.”
In the best-of-three state championship series in Ridgeland, Clarkdale took a 1-0 series lead with a 9-8, 10-inning win against the Lady Tigers. Nettleton bounced back the next day to win 11-1 and 7-4 to claim the championship.
“That was not the way you want to start a state championship series,” Kidd said of the Tigers’ loss in the opener. “We felt like we didn’t play defense like we’re capable of.
“You take away the first part of that game and we played pretty well.”
While Kidd admits he was shaken by the loss, he didn’t give up on his players.
“They were disappointed Friday, but they knew they were better. I thought Saturday would be a good day for them,” he said. “They weren’t going to be satisfied until we won another state championship.”
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org