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Dews plans to build top-caliber program

Coaching is in David Dews' blood. The new head coach of the LBW Community College softball team is the son of a very successful baseball and softball coach. His father, Gene Dews, is currently the head softball coach at Wallace-Dothan.

The Wallace-Dothan program has been turned into a national powerhouse in three short seasons under the leadership of the elder Dews. He was a successful baseball coach on the college level prior to accepting the Wallace-Dothan softball position three seasons ago.

Wallace-Dothan won the state championship the past two seasons after going 17-15 Dews' first year. Wallace-Dothan finished sixth and seventh in the nation the past two seasons, respectively.

David Dews helped his father turn the Wallace-Dothan program around as an assistant coach and aggressive recruiter. Now, the younger Dews plans on using the same techniques he helped his father implement at Wallace-Dothan to take the LBW softball program to the next level.

It will not be easy, but Dews does not appear to be afraid of hard work and is eager to prove he is head coach material. The LBW job is his first as a head coach.

There are pluses and minuses that come with being the son of a successful coach who appears to have mastered a sport. Dews is not the first to face this dilemma and can even think of someone in a similar situation.

"I feel a lot like Shula," Dews said referring to first-year UA Head Football Coach Mike Shula.

LBW Community College Athletic Director Steve Helms said Dews' background and experience as an assistant under his father should prove invaluable during his tenure at LBW.

"I think David, coming from a winning program, has the background to compete at the level we want

- which is the state and national level," Helms said.

Dews said he does not predict wins or guarantee championships. It's just not his style.

He does, however, inherit a group of players who remind him of the group he and his father used to build a solid foundation at Wallace-Dothan.

"Wallace-Dothan was much like this program is right now," Dews said. "That was the best coaching job we did. It reminds me a lot of this team."

He said the first group he and his father had at Wallace-Dothan was not made up of the most-talented players.

"They learned how to play," Dews said. "They weren't great players, but they knew how to play. I think this team here is going to be similar. They will know how to play and be scrappy.

"The girls want to get better. They are thirsty for knowledge," he added. "They want to build a foundation because they are always going to be a part of this family."

The softball players are expected to listen and conduct themselves properly at all times.

"We are going to build this program on character and integrity," Dews said. "When these girls come out of here they'll know how to play, but they'll also be better citizens.

"They will know about honesty, integrity and character," he added. "They want to be a part of something that will be great one day."

Dews said the LBW Lady Saints will one day be at the highest level of junior college softball.

"This will be one of the top programs in the southeast like Wallace-Dothan is now," Dews said. "My goal is for every kid I bring in to go on and play at the next level or get their education at the next level."

The path to achieving his goal of making LBW into an elite program begins Friday when he will hold his first practice. He knows this season might not be a championship year, but he expects his players to work hard and learn the game.

Dews wants his players to be prepared for each opportunity they get during the season and he wants them to know they are the beginning of something special.

The members of the 2003-2004 LBW Community College softball team are the ones who will always be remembered as the players who were here when the program began its trek to greatness.