John Milledge Academy has named its new head coach for varsity softball.
Sydney Lack will lead the Lady Trojans onto the field beginning with the upcoming 2020 season. Lack is a graduate of Gatewood Schools in Eatonton where she was a standout athlete no matter which sport was in season — softball, basketball or soccer. She replaces Andy Bonifay who left John Milledge in the middle of this school year. Bonifay was in his third year at the school having head coached both softball and baseball during his tenure.
After graduating from high school in 2017, Lack quickly transitioned from player to coach when an injury kept her off the softball field at the University of North Georgia, the school where she had committed to play. She helped out coaching at her high school alma mater a couple of years before making the switch to John Milledge for the 2019-20 year. Lack was head coach for JMA middle school softball last fall and assisted with both junior varsity and varsity girls basketball this past season.
Bonifay’s departure opened up the door for Lack to take on her first varsity head coaching role where she steps into a great situation for a first-timer. The Lady Trojans have gone to the GISA Final Four five straight years, and twice in that span, they advanced to play for the state championship. Their most recent foray into the finals resulted in a loss to now three-time defending champ Westfield, a program that figures to be right back in the mix again this fall. Luckily for Lack, two of John Milledge’s four All-State players from last season are returning — southpaw slinger Brayden Latimer and athletic shortstop Olivia Rhodes. The two rising seniors, the team’s other returners and a couple of expected transfers in could set the Lady Trojans up for yet another deep postseason run.
“I’m super excited,” Lack told The Union-Recorder in a Monday phone interview. “Our goal is to get back to where the team was last year, and I think we have a great shot at that with the players we have. We’re going to have to put in the work every day, but I do feel like we have the opportunity to be successful.”
In addition to her new role as head coach and taking college courses online, Lack is the owner of Oconee Sports Indoors, an indoor softball/baseball training facility located near Lake Oconee, where athletes can pay to spend some time in the cage or receive one-on-one instruction from Lack and her staff. The new JMA softball coach said having access to the facility will likely come in handy when the summer storms break up on-field practices.
Lack said she and her new team will begin work for the 2020 campaign after the Fourth of July holiday as long as conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have improved.
The Lady Trojans are scheduled to open play July 21 in a tournament at Briarwood Academy.