ZHS Alum Mike Garrett Talks First-year Goals As New Eagles Softball Coach
Writer / Seth Johnson
Photographer / Ron Wise
Mike Garrett is no stranger to Zionsville, and he’s not afraid to admit it.
“I’m not shy about it. I’m a homer,” says Garrett, who was recently named the new head coach of Zionsville High School’s softball team. “I love Zionsville High School and our teams. I always promote the Zionsville name and our kids and families. I just believe in what our town has — the quality of families and the kids we put out there.”
A graduate of Zionsville High School himself, Garrett was an active student in his younger years.
“I graduated from Zionsville High School in ’89,” he says. “I played football and baseball here and was class president all of those four years.”
In fact, he was a member of Zionsville High School’s first state championship-winning football team in 1987.
While growing up playing sports, Garrett admits that his coaches were very influential to him.
“Along with my own mom and dad, the second most important group of people to me then was my coaches,” he says. For this reason, he has dedicated much of his life to coaching a variety of youth sports.
“I’ve probably coached 15 years I would guess, from youth football to travel baseball and travel softball,” Garrett says. “I’ve done a little bit of everything through the years really.”
So when the head coaching position opened up at Zionsville High School, Garrett jumped at the opportunity.
“We’re going to build on what Leigh Ross Dakich did the last couple of years [as coach],” he says. “We’re going to take the strong foundation of principles she’s instilled in the kids, and we’re adding a new wave to it. I want the kids committed, and we’re committed to them as a coaching staff. As we develop these young ladies into leaders, they’re going to become role models for the younger girls in Zionsville, too.”
Last season, the Zionsville High School softball team finished with a 13-11 record, falling to Kokomo High School in the first round of sectionals. With this being said, Garrett has several goals for the upcoming 2019 season, whether they’re individual goals or team goals.
“We have a six-foot by eight-foot banner we’ve hung in the locker room with the goals,” Garrett says.
In reflecting on his primary coaching strategies, he says there are two main themes that he’s trying to emphasize with his players.
“One is to go get it,” Garrett says. “You gotta earn everything you’re going to get. The other thing we talk about is the next pitch. I don’t care if you just hit a grand slam bomb, or if you just hit the winning run or we just lost the game. I want short memories. We’re going to get up, we’re going to tie our shoes, and we’re going to get ready for the next pitch.”
This season will also be made special by the fact that Garrett will be coaching his daughter Lucy (a senior at Zionsville High School), who has already committed to playing softball at Indiana University next year.
“When the job opened up, I asked her, and she absolutely said do it,” Garrett says. “I knew it wouldn’t impact the perception of me coaching her because she’s already earned what she’s getting and where she’s going.”
Throughout the rest of the year and into next spring, Lucy, Coach Garrett and company will continue preparing for the 2019 season, which begins next March.