After a decade of success, the last original coach to open Nation Ford High School has stepped down.
Softball coach Michael Kidd was one of several head coaches tapped to jump start the Falcons’ athletic programs in 2007. Kidd has outlasted them all. There are some who still remain at the school, including Athletics Director Brian Turner, who has coached boys’ and girls’ basketball at times over the years. However, from a purely coaching standpoint, Kidd is the last of the original staff.
Nation Ford also has Brian Holland as their original boys’ lacrosse coach, but lacrosse wasn’t offered when the school first opened. That sport didn't come into existence at Nation Ford until 2012, well into Kidd's successful run as softball coach.
“Softball truly changed my life,” he said. “I have met people I normally wouldn’t have. I have impacted players like I never thought I could. Players have impacted me like I never thought they could.”
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Kidd said the time is just right to step down. He owns over 200 acres of farmland in Chester County, where he raises beef cattle and he said he needs to devote more time to his business. Kidd said he isn’t one of those coaches who can just do something part time. If he was going to continue to coach he would have to be all-in. At this point in his life, he said he just can’t.
“I enjoy softball a ton,” he said.
“But I have done my time. We have done well. But it’s time to bring someone in to grow them. These kids are young and they can grow with a new coach. I see a lot of good talent coming in. I would like to thank my wife, Tracy, and both my girls, Lauren and Kelsie, for all the support. I would like to thank Blue Baker and Mark Barfield for all they have done for me and the girls. I also want to thank Jodi Holeman for her many years of always being by my side to help with anything.”
Kidd was an assistant with Fort Mill High for two years before coming over to help open Nation Ford. Once he got to the school, he built something special in a short period, winning a state title in in 2011. He compiled a 190-81 career record, won four Region championships and two District titles while at the school. Also a three time Region Coach of the Year, Kidd will be going out with a unique honor by coaching in the state’s first ever 5A All-Star/All-State game June 14-15 at USC-Aiken.
“It's a perfect ending,” he said. “It's remarkable being a part of that.”
Besides the 2011 state title, Kidd said his fondest memory is coaching both of his daughters. Their ages are about four years apart, so when one, Lauren, was on the way out of school, the other, Kelsie, was on the way in. And there were some times they got to play together.
“I did get a chance to coach both of them in the same game,” he said. “ t's stuff like that and seeing the girls grow through the program, and being with the girls day in and day out seeing them succeed.”
Kidd said he knows rumors were out that he may be stepping down, so at the team’s year-end banquet recently, he confirmed them. He said he knew going into it that it wouldn't be easy to tell his team.
“It (was) going to be tough,” he said. "But I (had) to tell them at some point.”
Kidd said he is now going to look at the game in a different fashion. Not as a coach, not as a parent, but as a fan.
“It's been a great ride,” he said. “ feel like we have had a lot of success. I feel like we had a good season this year. I'm going to miss it. But I will be around to enjoy the games and watch them now.”
Mac Banks: firstname.lastname@example.org, @MacBanksFM