Carter leaving Seymour softball for CAK
Coach took Lady Eagles to three-straight state tournament
Jul. 22, 2013 @ 09:41 PM
After piloting the Seymour Lady Eagles softball team to the tournament for the first time in 2011 and making return trips the last two seasons, Dayna Carter is leaving for greener pastures.
Carter, who coached the SHS girls for 12 seasons in a volunteer position, told Athletic Director Gary Householder Monday morning that she'd accepted the head coaching job at the Christian Academy of Knoxville.
"She’s had several offers, but we were trying to get her to stay," Householder said.
The school had even made the rare offer of offering Carter the official head-coach position -- something almost unheard of for a non-faculty, volunteer coach.
"Dr. (Jack) Parton offered her the head coaching job and supplement (to stay)," Householder said. "Once you’ve been a volunteer coach for five years and passed all the TSSAA tests, you can become the head coach, and she had (passed the tests).
"It would have been setting a precedent, it's not something we've had in this county before," Householder continued. "They were going to make an exception for Dayna."
Apparently, after 12 unpaid years on the job, Carter decided it was time to move along.
"At the 12th hour they came to me and tried to offer me something but it was too late," Carter said. "If it had been up to Gary, it would have happened 10 years ago, 12 years ago ... Here in Sevier County, if you’re not a teacher, you’re not a head coach.
"CAK comes in and says, 'You can be the coach and we’ll pay you.' It was just an opportunity that I couldn't pass up."
Carter said the offer from CAK was made about a month ago, but she held off for a while on making the decision.
"I knew that the offer was there, but the hardest part for me was leaving the girls," she said.
"Her family went on vacation," Householder said. "She said she wouldn’t make a decision until she had a chance to come back and talk."
With a meeting scheduled with Householder and other officials found only Householder in attendance, it only helped cement Carter's decision.
"The bottom line is, I appreciate Gary householder and I know he’s fought hard for me to be there, but ... there's a lack of support (for the softball team by others)," Carter said. "And I hate it for my girls, for how prosperous that team has been."
Carter said she broke the news to her Lady Eagles players this evening.
"I met with the girls today at five and told them the news, and I just explained to them it had nothing to do with them," Carter said. "They made the decision harder, because I love them.
"(But) after them having been my kids for the past 12 years, I had to do what was best for my children."
"Ty’s the reason we even went out to visit CAK," Carter said of her athletic son, who just finished seventh grade, "And for some reason here in Sevier County they don’t let sixth graders play in (varsity) middle school sports, and (Carter's daughter Taylor) is going to have an opportunity to play middle school basketball (at CAK), and she’s really excited."
The search is on
With Carter out, Householder said he's scrambling to find a replacement.
"We’re hunting for a softball coach, and we've got eight out of nine starters back and good facilities," the AD said.
"We’ve got to find the best person we can find, because they’re going to inherit a very good program. Someone with a softball mind. Maybe somebody can fall in our lap like they did for Sevier County.
"We’d like to find one that’s the same caliber as Dayna," Householder said. "But that would be tough, because she’s one of the top two or three coaches in East Tennessee.
"I guess the other IMAC coaches (District 2-AAA) will be happy."