David McFadden was where he belonged when his hire became official — Twin Lakes’ softball complex. McFadden, a longtime assistant for former head coach Brian Middleton, was officially named the next Indians’ head coach Tuesday night at a school board meeting.
While his appointment was being passed, McFadden supervised a once-a-week offseason workout with players from the youth to high school level. He was an assistant softball coach for the past five seasons, serves as an assistant for the football team, and has helped both the junior high and high school wrestling programs for the past half-decade. McFadden is also a Twin Lakes alum, class of 1994, who spent a decade in the Army, then came back home in 2011 and has been involved in area athletics since then.
“I’m really excited,” McFadden said Wednesday. “It’s been — not a long process, but I’ve loved my time under Brian. I’ve learned so much that I felt like I was ready for the next step. He did a great job of preparing me for it. It’s a lot to live up to, and there is the excitement of the challenge.”
Middleton consistently stumped for McFadden since deciding to retire just before the 2019 season came to an end. Athletic Director Kent Adams said McFadden’s work the past five years made him a perfect candidate for the position.
“For many years he has worked hard as an assistant coach in several sports and in all facets of coaching to prepare for this opportunity,” Adams said. “He will bring a tremendous amount of passion, energy and dedication to the program. He understands what it takes to be successful and how to achieve positive results for the team and individuals.”
Current players expressed their happiness in the selection.
“It is a no-brainer. It’ll be a good change — Brian’s going to be missed a lot, but I’m excited to see what happens,” senior Gabi Lane said. “Whether it’s in training or in the way we play, I think we’ll be pushed mentally, physically. I think that will be good, that’s what we need.
Junior Olivia Crawn agreed.
“Him being our not necessarily new coach but head coach, is amazing,” she said. “I am excited for all the new stuff we are going to be able to experiment and do. I know anyone who has played softball for him has walked out of (the) season an even better player than they were when they started.”
Crawn and Lane formed the right side of last season’s defense and started at third base and shortstop, respectively. They combined for 68 of the team’s 283 hits and 12 of the team’s 41 doubles. Both noted McFadden has a tendency to push players to their limit in an effort to make them better, on and off the field.
“I know he has had things planned for when Brian was done all the way back my freshman year,” Crawn said. “He would always tell me, ‘When I’m head coach’ and tell me all what he wants to do. He is one of the most dedicated guys I know on and off the field.”
Crawn and Lane are two of seven starters slated to return. The program lost four seniors, including its starting catcher and one of its two starting pitchers. McFadden noted Kelsey Lingenfelter and Rachel Swaim “are going to be extremely hard to replace — if we can replace them at all in terms of production and leadership,” but not having to replace half a team, which has happened to Twin Lakes in the past, is at least helpful.
“Float pieces in and see where they fit, and you’ve already built a lot of chemistry with that group of kids (from the past couple years),” he added. “It’s very exciting to look forward to.”
McFadden knows the program’s history well — he was in school as the program transitioned from founder Bob Smock to Carolyn Sollars, and grew up in its first decade and a half of existence. Carrying on their legacy, alongside that of Middleton and Desiree Swaim and others, is his top priority.
“I remember a lot of coaches I looked up to in high school, and everybody’s got ones who stand out and made the greatest impact on you. And the same thing with the guys you spent time in the service with, filled the same role,” he said. “You learn from everybody, take the best traits and try to flip that toward these young athletes. Try to build young adults.”