After a long career of teaching and coaching basketball in Dawson County, Lady Tigers Head Coach Steve Sweat announced last week he would be retiring from coaching.
During his tenure with the Lady Tigers, Sweat led the team to two state championships, three final four appearances and a combined 12 playoff appearances. Sweat coached in Dawson County during the early nineties and returned to the area in 2006.
This week the Dawson County News sat down with Sweat to talk about his career in Dawson County and what life will look like for him moving forward.
What has been your favorite memory while coaching at Dawson County High School?
“This is tough to narrow down because I have had many, many great memories in my time here,” Sweat said. “Having God allow me to be a part of seeing kids do and accomplish things they thought they could not do has been great. All the people I have met, the people I have worked with and for, and just being called ‘Coach.’”
What has coaching and teaching meant to you throughout your career?
“Glory to God, I have been blessed with a 37-year career doing what I knew I wanted to do when I was in high school. Because of my high school teachers, mainly Mrs. Sarah Gee who I called shortly after announcing my retirement, I knew I wanted to help kids the way they helped me. I have been blessed to go, see, and do many things in my life because of teaching and coaching.”
Is this a test run? Will you ever go back to coaching?
“I feel sure this is it! I am not going to say that I will not have anything to do with basketball. I retired halfway 5 years ago but this one is full retirement. I am going to work for my wife, Sandy.”
Does your relationship with basketball end here? Or is it a life-long love?
“It is a lifelong love! I have either been playing or coaching basketball since I started playing in the 6th grade at Chestnut Mountain Elementary School in 1970. It may be just doing a lot of watching from this point on but basketball will always be a part of my life!”
What will you most be looking forward to during retired life?
“First, giving back time to Sandy that I owe her, spending time with my family, especially the 6 best grandkids in the world. Being able to go see any game, past players and coaching buddies, I want to, trout fishing and putting a lot of miles on my Harley Davidson motorcycles.”
Describe the moment you were in when you knew that now was the best time to retire.
“It took way more than a moment to get to the point of making this decision. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. Many prayers, many tears, talks with other coaches, discussing it with my family, making a list of answers/signs from God of the prayers, talking with school people and looking back to realize how truly blessed I have been in my career, led me to a place of peace to be able to make this decision.”
How has Dawson County changed your life?
“Dawson County and all of its people have been a blessing to me and my family. I came here the first time in 1984. Thanks to Roger Slaton, who was on the board then, and Randall Townley, Superintendent, I got hired here as a teacher and coach ... I left in 1994 to teach and coach in another county. In 2006, Coach Grady Turner called and wanted to know if I wanted to come back. I said yes and the rest is history. This is just one great example of how good Dawson County has been to me.”
What's next for Steve Sweat? Is there a plan in place yet? Anything you'd like to accomplish?
“Just continue to try my best to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord! I hope and pray that I can help someone by the life that I live. I will be looking for ways to pass on the blessings God has given me to others.”