Fanning's recognition comes from best source
Aug. 26, 2001
When it comes to high school sports, Newton County High School coach Mack Fanning has just about done it all.
He began as a football coach at Hickory High School in 1968. From 1968-79 and in 1987, his football teams went 73-46-2.
His first team went 1-9-1. His fourth and fifth teams turned in marks of 9-1-1 and 10-0-1. That's building a mountain out of a molehill.
Many remember him as a baseball coach at Hickory. His Bulldog teams went 200-134 and won Class B state championships in 1981 and 1983.
While at Hickory, Fanning also coached boys' basketball for two years with a combined record of 28-22. He also coached the girls' program and finished with more wins than losses.
Fanning became baseball coach at Newton County when the school opened in the fall of 1990. His first six teams made the state playoffs. After a two-year absence from the playoffs, his final Cougar baseball team went 24-12 to set a school record for wins and finished second in Class 3A to Vince McLemore's Amory squad.
Fanning ended his baseball career in 1999 with a 379-219 showing.
That move allowed Fanning to devote his spring time to the Lady Cougars' fast-pitch softball program, which began in 1999 with an 18-8 record that was good for second place in the state in Class 1A-2A-3A. His 2000 team was the 1A-2A-3A state champion with a 24-3 mark.
Last spring's squad went 35-4 in fast-pitch play to up Fanning's record in that sport to 77-15.
While those numbers are impressive, Fanning isn't one to toot his own horn. He's from the old school where you do your job without expecting a lot of glory.
Friday night in Decatur, he got the best recognition he could have gotten and it was totally unexpected by the school's 12th-year slow-pitch softball coach.
He had casually mentioned to his team on a bus ride back from Enterprise that a 10-0 win that night was his 300th career win in slow-pitch. Prior to Friday's 10-0 win over Neshoba Central, Fanning's three seniors, along with the rest of the team, presented him with a plaque acknowledging the milestone win.
Those three seniors Kristal Harris, Betsy Clark, and Krissi Harris are his first six-year players.
In his dozen years with the slow-pitch program at Newton County, Fanning's girls have won one Class 3A state championship (1992), were state runner-up three times (1996, 1999, and 2000), and finished third twice (1995 and 1998). The Lady Cougars made the state playoffs eight of their first 11 years and were off to a 5-0 start prior to Saturday's games at Madison Central and Brandon.
From that beginning, the Lady Cougars have an all-time slow-pitch record of 303-101 under Fanning's leadership.
Support from the community is evident when you attend a game at NCHS.
You get the feeling Fanning plans on making a run at No. 400.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 693-1551 ext. 3234.