Calhoun Softball Coach Diane Smith Set to Begin Her 35th Season as Yellow Jackets Head Coach

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Calhoun’s Diane Smith is one of the winningest high school softball coaches in Georgia. And this fall, she’ll look to add to her impressive victory total as she begins her 35th season as the Yellow Jackets head coach.

Diane Smith has literally coached her whole life, starting as a teenager.
Said Smith:”I started coaching when I was 17 years-old. A rec team. Matter of fact those girls were fourteen, so I was only a few years older than them.”
Before getting head coaching job at Calhoun, Smith also served as a softball umpire, where she had only one incident.
Smith:”Believe it or not, I only had to throw one person out, but that was in rec ball, church leagues men’s. Men’s church league. They were the worst.”
Sometimes it’s hard to feel the love as an umpire, but there’s not mistaking Smith’s love for Calhoun.
Said Smith:”Oh my goodness. There’s a Yellow Jacket right here on my heart. I mean there’s no way I’d even go anywhere else.”
When a PE job came open at Calhoun in 1977, Smith was determined to go to work at her high school alma mater.
Said Smith:”Went and talked to the superintendent. He said well Diane, we’re saving that job for a football coach. I said hey, I’ll coach football. The look on his face. I mean our meeting was over. The next week I got a call. I got a job, but it wasn’t at the high school. They made one for me at the middle school.”
In here three decades of coaching, Smith has won over 700 games and four state titles with the first coming in 2013.
Said Smith:”It took me 28 years to get a state championship. It was incredible. I coached middle school basketball for 36 years. I had like 750 wins in basketball, so you know. Just keep on rolling.”
One piece of advice if you see coach Smith, please, don’t ask her about retirement.
Said Smith:”I hate for them to say when are you going to retire. Just because I’m 66 years-old does not mean I’m ready to throw in the towel. I don’t want to. I love it.”

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.