John McNeal and Brennan Swindoll
FRANKLIN -- Former Friendship Christian School baseball standout Brennan Swindoll and Commander coach John McNeal were named the 2013 Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association Player and Coach of the Year at the organization's annual banquet Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Cool Springs Marriott Hotel.
The pair helped lead FCS to the TSSAA Class A state championship in 2013 and a record off 33-6.
Swindoll graduated salutatorian of the Class of 2013 from FCS and finished his high school baseball career 34-4 on the mound - despite missing his sophomore year due to arm surgery.
In the last four games of his senior year, which were the region, sectionals, first round of the state tournament and the state finals, he was 4-0 with 40 strike outs and only two walks. All four games were complete game shutouts and within a two-week period.
A two-time all-state selection by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association, Swindoll was diagnosed with cancer in January 2013. He immediately underwent surgery and the week before the season opened he was told by doctors that he was cancer free.
Days before the BlueCross Spring Fling began in Murfreesboro the lefty went back to the doctor for routine scan only to find out that the cancer had returned and he would have to immediately undergo chemotherapy.
Typical for his character and team first attitude, he kept the diagnosis to himself because he wanted his friends and teammates to focus on winning a state championship.
Brennan began a nine-week chemotherapy treatment the week following Spring Fling.
He signed with Chattanooga State Community College to continue his education and his dream of playing baseball at a higher level. Today, he is cancer free and enjoying college life and the opportunity to pitch at the collegiate level.
McNeal, FCS athletic director as well as baseball / football coach, has been coaching at FCS since 1992.
Leading the baseball program, he has compiled 22 district championships, 11 state tournament appearances, two second place finnishes, two state championships and an overall record 635-214.
Nine of his former players currently play college baseball and one, Stephen Pryor, pitches in the the Seattle Mariners' organization.
McNeal also serves at the head football coach where his teams have captured two Class 2A state championships and finished second once.