Fanning honored by NCHS

By By Steve Swogetinsky / special to The Star
June 27, 2004
DECATUR It was Mack Fanning's day to be honored. As former students, friends and family members looked on, the Newton County High School softball field was renamed the Mack Fanning Softball Field Complex Saturday morning before the start of the Mississippi Coaches Association's all-star softball games.
Not only did Fanning start the softball program at Newton County, but he also built the baseball and softball fields, starting from scratch. On Saturday, he sat back and looked at the results of his work.
Fanning retired at the end of the school year after being activated to full-time status in the National Guard. The Newton County School Board voted to honor him for his 36 years of coaching and teaching service at Hickory and Newton County high schools.
A native of Hickory, Fanning returned as a teacher and coach at Hickory High School after graduating from Mississippi College in the mid-1960s. He taught science and biology and coached there until the school was closed in 1990 and merged with Beulah-Hubbard and Decatur to form Newton County High School.
At the new school, Fanning became the baseball and slow-pitch softball coach. He dropped baseball after the 1999 season to focus on the newly formed fast-pitch program which, like baseball, played in the spring. But during the 1999 season, he coached both teams (baseball and fast-pitch) to the finals of the State Championship.
As a baseball coach for 24 years, his teams at Hickory and Newton County posted a 379-219 record.
Besides girls softball, he has also coached football, boys and girls basketball and baseball.
He was the head football coach at Hickory High School, posting a record of 73-46-2. His team won two conference championships, coming in 1972 and 1979.
In slow-pitch softball, his team posted a record of 90-118. His teams won the state championship in 1992 and 2001, and were runners up in 1996, 1999 and 2000.
His fast-pitch teams won three state championships in six seasons, those coming in 2000, 2002 and 2003. They were the state runner-ups in 1999."

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