By Carey Phillips
Morgan Dillard has been named Smoky Mountain’s head softball coach.
She had been a staff member the past four years working stints as head JV coach and as a varsity assistant.
She replaces Megan Davis, who resigned after two seasons.
“It’s really exciting to have this under my wing and to set the standards and expectations of what we can do and try to be successful,” Dillard said.
She inherits a program that was 8-15 last year but that had significant young talent. Sophomore Katie Allison and freshmen Kennedy Stewman and Alannah Hopkins were named all-conference.
“In anything you do, communication is a big part of it,” Dillard said. “There’s going to be communication between our players and parents and having community backing. We have young talent and want to mesh that talent together. I get real excited thinking about what can be done with a lot of communication and a lot of community support.”
As an example of how close the team is to breaking through in the Mountain Six Conference, the Lady Mustangs twice last year took leads into the seventh inning against Franklin, a team that reached the state 2-A semifinals.
“We’re still climbing the mountain,” Dillard said. “We have so much room for improvement, and that could explode this year.”
One of Dillard’s key tasks will be assembling her coaching staff.
“The staff is going to play a big part in it,” she said. “You can’t do anything by yourself.”
Dillard graduated in 2009 from Crest High School in Boiling Springs, where she played four years of varsity softball.
After playing two years at Spartanburg Methodist Junior College, she transferred to Western Carolina, where she played her final two years. She graduated from WCU in 2013, majoring in psychology and minoring in special education.
She is married to Jackson County native and Smoky Mountain graduate Trent Dillard. They are the parents of twin boys – Easton and Lane – who will be 2 in December.
Dillard is employed as program coordinator for Person First Services, which is affiliated with Disability Partners.
“We feel really good about Morgan,” Athletic Director Adam Phillips said. “She brings a lot of experience, having played in college, and she knows Western North Carolina very well. She’s been a great asset to our staff the last few years. We’re really excited to have her as head coach.”
“We are excited to have Morgan step into the head coaching position,” Principal Evelyn Graning said. “She has a wide variety of softball experience, and we know she will do a great job with our girls.”