By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
LYNN CAMP — For most high schools across the Tri-County, Monday was just another day of summer vacation, but for Lynn Camp High School Monday was a day of progress.
Lynn Camp assistant principal Anthony Pennington was the emcee of a press conference during which he introduced the two newest members of the Lynn Camp coaching family – Eric Swords, who will coach the Lynn Camp boys’ basketball team and Nikki Hendrix, who will lead the Lady Wildcats’ softball program.
Pennington talked about the hiring process and what he and the hiring committee looked for in the applicants and said he felt like they got it right with the hiring of Swords.
“I was looking for a coach that would take this to the next level, but one that would not just be a coach,” Pennington said. “We wanted someone who would be a mentor, be an ambassador for our school, our community and our program.
“We wanted somebody that would outwork everyone and the big thing was the experience,” he added.
Swords is a graduate of Williamsburg High School where he started all four years on the varsity squad from 2000 to 2004 followed by seasons at Martin Methodist College (2004 to 2006) and University of Virginia-Wise (2007-2009). Swords’ previous coaching experience came while at UVA-Wise where he served as assistant men’s basketball coach from August 2010 to May 2013. Swords also served as men’s assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach at Doane College in Crete, Neb. from August 2009 to May 2010.
Swords said he appreciated the opportunity he’s been given at Lynn Camp and is looking forward to getting started and meeting the players.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to be back in the area,” Swords said. “I’m grateful to be named the head coach here at Lynn Camp and for the chance I’ve been given to lead this program.
“When I heard of the opening here I jumped at the chance because Lynn Camp is a place I could always see myself being a coach at,” he added. “I always felt this would be a place where I could relate to the kids and get the most out of them both on an off the court.”
Hendrix brings a wealth of experience when it comes to high school softball, as her record shows. During her high school softball career at North Laurel High School, Hendrix was awarded All-State Honors in 1994. In 1995, Hendrix was awarded All-Region Honors. She threw the first no-hitter in Kentucky fast pitch softball.
She was most recently the coach of Williamsburg High School’s junior varsity softball program and an assistant coach for the varsity team. She served as middle school girls’ basketball head coach from 2005-2007.
Hendrix said she suspects the task of turning the Lynn Camp softball program around is a tall one, but was adamant in stating her willingness to work and make the players better as well.
“I have a lot of experience in playing at North Laurel and playing in college and once you see me on the field, you’ll see how hard I’ll work,” Hendrix said. “I’ll start at the bottom in teaching fundamentals like how to hit and I’ll teach them the tools they need to be successful on the softball field.
“I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m gonna work and I’m gonna work hard,” she added. “I’m hoping you guys will be able to see the difference in our program when softball time comes.”