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Sale Creek softball coach Clifford Kirk continues to recover in a local hospital after suffering a heart attack on the field during a game Wednesday night.
According to principal Tobin Davidson, Kirk is now able to sit up and talk with family.
“He’s sitting up in bed and has been telling us how he wants us to coach the game today,” Davidson said in a text message. “He’s still in ICU but is allowed visitors every four hours.”
Kirk collapsed along the third-base line during the seventh inning of Wednesday night's Region 3-A high school championship game against Whitwell. As the legendary coach stepped from the third-base coach’s box to motion toward a runner on second base, he stumbled and fell onto the field. Several fans rushed onto the field to roll him over onto his back and begin chest compressions while they awaited paramedics.
Paramedics arrived within minutes and continued to administer to him. He was taken by ambulance from the field to a local hospital.
Kirk was hired to take over at Sale Creek last October, just four months after retiring as Soddy-Daisy's coach.
During his legendary 26-year career with the Lady Trojans, Kirk never had a losing record. He won eight Class AAA state championships at Soddy-Daisy, including last season, and finished runner-up three times. Before coaching at Soddy-Daisy, he won two state titles at Hixson and has more than 925 career wins.
The game was postponed and will resume today at 5 p.m. with Sale Creek and Whitwell tied 1-1.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...