By Maurice Patton
Pat Swallows, executive director of the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association, announced Wednesday that the organization’s upcoming clinic has been canceled because of pandemic concerns.
“We’d been working all fall for this, hoping things would calm down and get, not necessarily back to normal, but at least better,” Swallows said of the three-day event, scheduled for Jan. 15-17 at the Cool Springs Marriott. “We don’t want to put coaches in a situation where – if something were to happen, it would kill me.”
Along with the clinic, the event includes an awards luncheon and hall of fame induction. Former Loretto coach Gary Lamm was to be inducted next month along with Grace Christian’s Brad Myers, Friendship Christian’s John McNeal, longtime Knoxville amateur baseball figure Dwight Smith and Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin.
The inductions will instead take place during the 2022 convention.
“It’s just one of those tough things we’re going through,” Lamm said. “If it has to be canceled, so be it. I’m all for doing what’s right. It’s out of our control. It’s not the end of the world.
“I know it’s a call Pat hated to make, but looking at the numbers, it’s the right call, I’d say. You don’t want to put anybody at risk. I know the coaches I talked to were looking forward to it, but he’s trying to do what’s best.”
Now in its 29th year, the three-day clinic typically draws more than 400 coaches, Swallows said.
“We had 475 last year,” he said. “Our numbers were small (to this point), but normally after Christmas, the first of the year, is when a lot of the coaches register. I felt it was better to pull the plug now.
“It’s safer to be at home.”