Viera’s Woodard steps down after 13 years as swim coach


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Viera High School swimming coach Morgan Woodard, left, and her mother, Debbie Tweedie, stand in front of framed memories of their first season together. Woodard is stepping down after 13 seasons that have included more than 10 district championships, a Cape Coast Conference title, one regional championship and two CCC Coach of the Year awards

CARL KOTALA

Morgan Woodard and her mother, Debbie Tweedie, have built the Viera High School swimming program from the ground up, creating a family atmosphere along the way.

But after 13 years, Woodard has decided to step down as Viera’s coach to concentrate on her own family.

“My boys are 1 and 4 now and very active, tons of energy,” Woodard said. “It’s just time to focus on family.

“My mom always said when I was done, she was done. We just decided this was the time to focus on the kids. They’re only 1 and 4 once.”

Woodard, 34, has built quite a program at Viera.

The girls team has won nine district titles, including the last six in a row. The Hawks also won their first Cape Coast Conference championship this past season and have a regional title and two runner-up finishes on their resume.

Viera’s boys team has won three district titles and, like the girls team, sent a number of swimmers to the state meet through the years. Woodard also has been named CCC Coach of the Year twice.

“She developed a great program with high standards,” Viera athletic director Chris Gallagher said of Woodard. “They were quality academic students year in and year out, along with some pretty successful accomplishments in the swimming pool.

“She was a great leader, a quiet leader and a strong leader.”

While the Hawks have yet to hire her replacement, Woodard said she hopes the team is able to keep the same family-like atmosphere she worked hard to create.

“Mom and I were the originals, so it was really hard to say that we were done because the swim team is also our family,” Woodard said. “We’ve put so much time and effort into it to make the swim team a family place. Every time we have seniors leave, that’s what they all say — they love the family atmosphere.

“I can only hope that … we have a really strong group
of juniors. I told them they’re going to have the hardest
job ever on continuing the family vibe with a new coach.”