Whitney Deaver Misses Her Bob Jones Softball Team
MADISON- Fourth year Bob Jones High head softball coach Whitney Deaver has spent more time away from her players than other coaches during the Covid-19 pandemic as the 2020 season was cut short after just 18 games of the Lady Patriots’ 2020 schedule. Deaver also spent months separated from her team during her maternity leave to have her second child.
“I love being a mom as I loved staying home and I can’t imagine not coaching, but I missed my softball players as it was like missing my daughters,” said Deaver.
Her official maternity leave began Aug. 1 of 2019. After visiting her doctor she was ordered to two weeks of bed rest prior to the birth of her and her husband’s daughter Brynle. Deaver was also at home for six weeks post-birth as she and her husband of five years, Bryant, were dealt with the news their daughter would be placed in Neonatal ICU at Huntsville Hospital after Brynle was diagnosed with sticky lung. The condition is where the lungs fill with mucus and cause severe breathing conditions.
“She spent eight days in NICU and we had to take her to the emergency room twice after she arrived home,” added Deaver.
At nine months of age, Brynle currently does not have any health issues and Deaver is able to remain at her side, but the former high school four-time All-State softball player and four-year star player at Jacksonville State is ready to get back out on the softball field with her extended family.
“I can’t wait to continue my relationships with my players as I returned to the team at our first practice back in January and our season was going very well until we were halted by Covid-19,” said Deaver. “We were 15-3 in season play, but I had a bad feeling about what was going on with the virus and sort of knew the season was coming to a quick end.”
Deaver had a young team in 2020 as the team roster featured just one senior, Rylee Snyder. Going into what would be the season-ending Hazel Green Tournament, which Bob Jones co-hosted, Deaver said her memories of the entire shortened season will fall into one moment when Snyder came to the plate for what would be her final at bat as a Lady Patriot.
“Rylee got a hit and I couldn’t believe the finish of her high school career,” said Deaver. “It was a disappointing end to our season as we were 15-3 and the team was jelling and playing well.”
For Deaver, it was a very unusual 2019-2020 school year as she spent only 10 weeks as a teacher/coach at the school. During her maternity leave while the team was hosting unofficial practices and workouts, she would attend a practice once a week just to be around her “family.”
Assistant coaches Shanna Foster and Kent Chambers showed incredible support for Deaver by taking the reins of the program and guiding the squad in preparation for the return of their head coach.
“They did so much for me I can’t thank them enough,” said Deaver of her coaching staff. “Getting back to action in January was very exciting and reminded me of what I really do as a coach and as an educator in driver’s education. It was awesome being home with my children, but I really missed my players.”
Deaver’s husband owns Black Tie Moving Company and has been working from home as much as possible during the pandemic. Both are ready to return to their professions fulltime and with the recent order of schools and their athletic programs being able to reopen the first of June, Deaver is looking forward to being with her players as much as possible during the summer months.
“I’d like to do whatever we can do in June as several of our girls play on high-level travel teams, so we’ll do as much as possible,” said Deaver. “It’s good to be back.”