2023 All-County Softball: McGivney leaves WC following outstanding season, era as Coach of the Year

Published 3:55 am Sunday, June 4, 2023

When she first announced in April that she was leaving Warren Central, Dana McGivney didn’t want to make a big deal of it. She wanted to keep the focus on softball and a promising season.

Good luck with that.

After 17 years, more than 200 wins, and a generation of players who grew up under her watch, the final month of the 2023 season became a farewell tour. When it finally ended, tears of both sadness and joy flowed freely as a long chapter in the program’s history came to a close.

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McGivney, who will take over as Oxford’s head coach next season, wasn’t just leaving a softball program she’d molded. She was leaving a family.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. This has been my only head coaching job, and I’ve been here 17 years. It’s my family. These kids are my family,” McGivney said.

“The reason why I love this program is that every year we have a great group of kids that come through. We have seniors that leave, but then they all come back because of how much this program has meant to them. They will still be my family even though I’m not here, and I think that they know that.”

Rather than being a distraction, McGivney’s departure became a rallying point. The Lady Vikes tried to send her out on a high note and did, by finishing with an 18-14 record and reaching the second round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs.

Their effort down the stretch gave McGivney one more parting gift — the 2023 Vicksburg Post softball Coach of the Year award.

The Lady Vikes lost a tough three-game playoff series to Brandon, but won Game 2 on their home field. McGivney said that was a moment she’ll always treasure.

“To leave on a high note makes it even better. To know that the last game on this field, we won, makes it nice,” she said. “Obviously it would’ve been nice if we had won that series. But to at least win our home game meant a lot.”

McGivney’s first season as Warren Central’s fast-pitch coach was in 2007. She took over for another fixture at the school, Lucy Young, and they have been the only softball head coaches that have ever been there. Between them, they’ve guided the slow- and fast-pitch programs for nearly 50 years.

“I always wanted to build on what she had built, because of what she had put into this program and what this program meant to her,” McGivney said. “For her to entrust me with that is a big responsibility. I hope that I have lived up to her expectations. I feel like we’ve done good things and continued to build on her legacy.”

McGivney compiled a 228-182 record in 17 seasons, won a couple of region championships, and turned Warren Central into a playoff regular.

McGivney’s teams only missed the postseason once, not including the 2020 COVID-shortened season. That year, the Lady Vikes were 11-0 when the pandemic shut things down. The 2023 Vicksburg Post Coach of the Year award is her sixth.

This year’s team finished with 18 wins for the second year in a row. It wasn’t the winning that made things fun for McGivney, though. It was the way the Lady Vikes played the game.

“Good kids, and good athletes, and they’re fun to watch. They work hard and they play hard,” she said. “They are going to dive after a ball, or they’re going to do this or that, and that’s always fun for me to watch.”

2023 – Dana McGivney, Warren Central
2022 – Brian Ellis, Vicksburg
2021 – Brian Ellis, Vicksburg
2020 – No winner (COVID)
2019 – Amanda Yocum, Porter’s Chapel
2018 – Dana McGivney, Warren Central
2017 – Amanda Yocum, Porter’s Chapel
2016 – Brian Ellis, Vicksburg
2015 – Candice Reeder and Howard Park, St. Al
2014 – Dana McGivney, Warren Central
2013 – Dana McGivney, Warren Central
2012 – Gene Rogillio, St. Aloysius
2011 – Amanda Yocum, Vicksburg
2010 – Dana McGivney, Warren Central
2009 – Dana McGivney, Warren Central
2008 – No winner
2007 – Amanda Yocum, Vicksburg/Porters Chapel
2006 – Chris Etheridge, Porters Chapel
2005 – Lucy Young, Warren Central
2004 – Kevin Griffin, Porters Chapel
2003 – Kevin Griffin, Porters Chapel
2002 – Gene Rogillio, St. Aloysius and Lucy Young, Warren Central
2001 – Gene Rogillio, St. Aloysius
2000 – Josh Harper, Vicksburg

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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