Farren Young has coached several different sports in her time at Nettleton. Now she will add another one to the resume as she takes over coaching slow-pitch softball this season for the Lady Tigers.
“I’m extremely excited because I have been trying to get out here for two years now. When Coach (Ken) Topps came to me and asked me about it, my face just lit up, and I was like, ‘Wow,’” Young said. “I love softball and always have, and that and basketball was always my thing in high school. I went and played both of those sports at ICC, so just to be able to come back out here and be on the field that I played on in high school, it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Young, who has been a head coach for cross country, track and tennis and an assistant for basketball, takes over slow-pitch for Jacob Kidd, who will still be head coach for fast-pitch. She’s familiar with Kidd, as the two both played college ball at Itawamba Community College, her with softball and him with baseball.
“He’s focusing on fast-pitch and spending time with his family,” she said. “We had a meeting with the girls when we had tryouts, and he explained to them that he doesn’t get to spend much time with his family.”
Young’s coaching career has mirrored her playing one – while in high school, she played basketball, slow-pitch and fast-pitch softball, tennis, ran track and participated in cheerleading.
“I started playing softball when I was in the first grade, and Mr. (James) Malone was actually my coach,” Young said. “Brandi McDaniel was my seventh-grade coach because we had a junior high team back then. I have my name on the building there because we were division champs in 2003. I haven’t been on this field since 2004.”
Coaching several different sports already has her familiar with some of her softball players.
“It’s mostly the same kids, so they already know what I expect of them,” Young said. “They know we’re not going to come out here and play around. When we are on this field, we are business, and when we are off it, we can have a good time. While we’re out here, it’s game face.”
Young said she has already had tryouts for the slow-pitch team and also coaches a handful of the Lady Tigers on a summer fast-pitch team.
“That’s one of the reasons why we have this team so that they can play in the summer and have that playing time,” she said. “I have a couple of the girls at basketball as well. I see them all at school, and they all know me. Their parents know me because some of them I went to school with.”
The Lady Tigers fell in the second round of the playoffs last season but have made deep runs for several years in a row in the past.
“In the past, they have been a great slow-pitch team,” Young said. “I know they didn’t do as well last year as they wanted to, but even back when I was in high school, we were real competitive and that still goes on now.”
Nettleton has no incoming seniors after losing four, including two who signed to play at the next level. The Lady Tigers will rely on a large junior class that gained experience last season.
“I am excited about not having any seniors this year because I hate Senior Night,” Young said. “All the kids are sad, and they are leaving and not coming back. It’s not just the seniors that are upset, it’s the whole team, and even with the coaching mentality, it’s hard.”
Nettleton will compete in Class I, which combines Class 1A, 2A and 3A all together. They are in a division with Amory, Booneville and Smithville.
“We play some pretty tough competition. You have schools like Hamilton, and I know they are real big into softball,” Young said. “Amory is still there in our division, and they have been competitive since even I was in school. Smithville has always been a big softball school. Booneville will be in there with us, and I’m not sure how they look. Choctaw Central is always really good at everything they do, so that should be a challenge for us.”
While she’s saving naming goals until practice starts at the end of the month, a couple of big ones stand out.
“Mainly we want to win our division, and then hopefully we win state,” Young said. “It would be nice to have a championship ring.”