The coach who led Dixie’s softball team to three state titles and six state championship appearances is leaving Dixie High.
Gary Stone, who most recently led the Hornets to the 2019 Class 1A state softball championship, has taken an assistant principal position at Greenwood High School.
Dixie has named longtime assistant coach Ben Snipes as the team’s new head coach.
“It’s been something that I’ve enjoyed doing over the years,” Stone said. “Coach Snipes and I have been able to take the program to another level. It was difficult, certainly a difficult part of my decision process was not necessarily walking away from it, but where was it going to be left and who was it going to be left to continue the program.”
Stone said his new position is strictly in an administrative role and he won’t be coaching at Greenwood High.
With Stone as coach, Dixie reached the state championship game every season from 2013 to 2017. Dixie didn’t make it in 2018, but then defeated Lake View in three games to win the 2019 state championship.
Stone said he’ll miss Dixie High and striving for a state championship each year. The Hornets were state champions in 2014, 2016 and 2019.
“Highs and lows, you remember them both,” Stone said. “It’s funny, you remember the state championships, but you also remember the ones that got away. But I’m going to remember all the young ladies that I’ve had the opportunity to coach and to help them achieve their success.
“I’m also going to remember the relationships that I’ve established with other coaches. That will be something else that will be a void I’ll have to fill as far as the coaching community. It really is a tight-knit community. We compete against one another, but we’re each other’s biggest supporters.”
Snipes has been on Dixie’s coaching staff for as long as Stone, and Stone said Snipes has been a huge part of Dixie’s success.
“I was really excited to see that Coach Snipes has decided that he is going to take that position,” Stone said. “I was the head coach in name, but he and I — we built that to what it is together. He was as important a part to our success as anybody.”