Following eight successful years at Broken Bow, Jimmy Wyrick decided to make a life-changing decision.
After Cody Little decided to leave coaching and teaching, Jimmy talked over the opportunity with his family and was hired to direct the Durant High School softball fortunes.
Wyrick left one of the state’s stellar softball programs. He guided the Lady Savages to three slow-pitch state titles in 2017, 2019 and 2022 and have been a regular at the Class 4A state fastpitch tournament in recent year
He has fond memories and nothing but praise for his stay at the McCurtain County school
However, he saw the Durant job as a great opportunity in his coaching career and for his family. It was also a chance to return to his old stomping grounds, of sorts. Wyrick is a 2004 graduate of Southeastern in Durant and had coached baseball for one year at Achille with basketball stops along the way in the Atoka and Hugo area.
“My wife talked about moving back to Durant and the opportunity presented itself and we jumped at it,” he told me a few days before his first game as the DHS coach.
The change of scenery came during a very sobering and life changing two-plus years for the Wyrick family.
“I was diagnosed with cancer in March 2021,” he told me matter of factly.”
“Everybody knew about it when I was bald and it took all of my hair. The last few years I’ve kept it pretty quiet and have tried not to draw attention to myself.”
Wyrick had his last Chemotherapy in the middle of July and the prognosis is good.
“A lot of people thought I’ve been over it for a long time. I really appreciate all of the love, support, prayers and kind words from everyone. Especially for my family.”
Sometimes a coaching move means a rebuilding job awaits. But that’s not necessarily the case in Durant
There, he inherits a Class 5A power program which has qualified for the state fastpitch tournament nine straight seasons. In addition, this year’s experienced roster of returning senior starters including pitchers Bellamy Knight and Sawyer Strange plus shortstop Aubry Tomlinson, outfielders Laila Ahmed and Riley Ramos and manager Ava Crabtree.
“They love softball,” he said of his first Lady Lion squad.” They are a strong and very tight knit bunch. They love to compete and also like to play jokes on their coaches,” he said laughing.
Wyrick has also begun to share his story to give others an example that surviving cancer is possible.
“Coaching through cancer was very tough,” he admitted. “But the Lord blessed me with the ability to do it.”