State champ Swope bids farewell
By Casey Flores
On Saturday, the 25th, after 34 years, coach Steve Swope said his last goodbye to coaching and teaching at his retirement party. Held at the Riverboat, the night was filled with past memories, tributes to Swope and his coaching statistics, and a couple of humorous roasts.
“I’m proud and honored that a lot of people know him as a coach and teacher, but I have the honor of knowing him as a dad,” said Kevin Swope, Swope’s youngest son. “He’s most definitely earned all the accomplishments he’s achieved.”
Wayne Kennedy, former long-time Colonial Beach athletic director, was the master of ceremonies for the evening. Having been with Steve since the beginning, he offered a unique perspective. “I think it’s definitely the end of an era, and that part of it’s sad,” said Kennedy, “But it’s tremendous that the cars are backed up to Hunan for a person who talked the talk and walked the walk. He didn’t forget where he came from.”
After an invocation by deacon Ed Jones from St. Mary’s Episcopal church came the buffet dinner, followed by the speakers and roasters. The roasters included Wayne Kennedy, former Colonial Beach teacher Ken Chatham, and Coach Swope’s best friend, Rocky Denson cracking jokes about Steve’s infamous stories, mannerisms, and his love for the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Throughout the night, coach Swope was presented with multiple tokens of appreciation, including a scrapbook put together by Diana Pearson that dated back to his first day at Colonial Beach. Also granted to him by Pat Fitzgerald, a colleague of Coach Swope for many years, was a large baseball-shaped sign with the statistic “490 wins” written on it. The sign will be hung up at the high school baseball field. Similarly, a banner was presented to him by the former Colonial Beach basketball coaches, which read “517 wins,” to be put up in the Drifter Dome.
Other speakers from the night included Joe Posey, a former basketball player for Coach Swope who went on to play for James Madison University. “The turnout is well-deserved,” said Posey. “If not, it should have been more. For especially