CORRYTON, Tenn. — Just 30 minutes before her regional semifinals game against Fulton on Monday, Gibbs High School softball coach Carol Mitchell walked from the Lady Eagles' dugout to home plate to receive a plaque from Gibbs athletic director Jeff Thomas. The large crowd roared with applause.
With a wood base, the bottom half of the plaque had a gold plate saying "Congratulations, Coach Carol Mitchell on your 900th win!" It then displays the date of the milestone win, April 13, 2019.
A team photo from that day fills the top half of the plaque.
The commemorative item gives physical form to a milestone that only a handful of coaches can relate to. One being the legendary Pat Summit, who won nearly 1,100 games at Tennessee.
However, the 10 state championship flags that violently flapped in the chilly wind hold much larger significance. Coach Mitchell was with the program for nine of those title runs.
"She's been here since the very beginning, so she's the heart and soul of it," said athletics director Jeff Thomas.
Mitchell, then Carol Zachary, was a star pitcher for the Lady Eagles from 1983 to 1987. Gibbs won the state championship each year and lost just seven games in that span.
The school officially named her head coach in 1994. Her first team won only eight games. Four years later, Gibbs claimed their first state title in a decade.
Fast forward to 2019 and Mitchell's led the Lady Eagles to 24 straight district championships, five state championships and, of course, 900 wins.
She has even coached the daughters of her former players.
"Winnings has become important and a tradition. I'm just glad to be along for the ride with them," Mitchell said.
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