Shawn Smith takes over for 2017 season
Wilson Central has filled its vacant softball coaching position with Monday's appointment of Shawn Smith, 53, as the interim head coach of the program.
Smith, a former baseball player at the University of Southern Mississippi, is the father of Wilson Central infielder Claire Smith and coached the Southside Middle School baseball program for six seasons in the past.
Smith, who owns his own insurance agency, has given private hitting lessons to both softball and baseball players in Wilson County for several years and two years full-time as a scout for the Chicago Cubs.
Smith takes over the program after the resignation of former coach Michael Shepard earlier in July following an investigation into an inappropriate relationship with a female student. Shepard was indicted by the Wilson County Grand Jury and arrested by the Sheriff's Department on charges of statutory rape. He has since posted bail and was arraigned July 22.
The Lady Wildcats went 66-20-1 over the past two seasons, including a 41-7-1 mark in 2015 when the squad won the TSSAA Class AAA state championship.
WCHS Principal Travis Mayfield made the announcement Monday afternoon, July 25 via an email to players and their parents.
"In considering all the factors involved I think this is the best course of action in order to move Wilson Central softball forward as a program," Mayfield wrote.
"By hiring Shawn [Smith] for this year only, it will provide a transition between [Michael] Shepard and whomever ultimately becomes the head coach. This will also allow me time to open the position for a longer period of time next spring with a variety of content areas and select from a larger pool of potential head coaches."
Current assistant coaches Sara Williams and Carmen Gregson will continue to be involved with the program.
"Sara will be listed as the head coach for TSSAA purposes," Mayfield said, "Carmen will be our the [in the] building softball contact and responsible for submitting paperwork and financial records. Further division of responsibilities will be determined by Coach Smith."
"I encourage the boosters to meet and discuss the organizational and fundraising opportunities to support the team with Coach Smith as soon as possible," Mayfield said.