Coaches Corner: Getting to know Coach Mellanie Surratt

Amanda Lowrance

Coaches Corner: Getting to know Coach Mellanie Surratt

Mellanie Surratt has a great history of accomplishments ranging from coaching junior high softball to coaching university softball and basketball. 

In November 2009, Mellanie was honored with the Female Coach of the Year Award in athletic district 7.

She has spread her knowledge and wisdom to kids and young adults of all ages. “I always knew I wanted to go into physical education,” said Surratt.

Born and raised in McNairy County by J.D. and Linda Wilkerson and the late Charles Surratt, Mellanie lived the simple life.

 Since there was no softball team established at Adamsville High School, she played basketball as a Lady Cardinal. Later she graduated, receiving her high school diploma and went to the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Mellanie was a starter for the UT Martin Lady Skyhawk’s basketball team for four years, with a team that held top three in their conference.

As her college years came to an end, the university asked her to stay and help assist with the basketball program and she agreed.

Today, many of her former basketball players have moved on to be coaches themselves.

A new window opened as UT Martin’s head softball coach Milly McDonald was going to resign.

Surratt found a game that she loved and has been coaching softball ever since. 

One particular player coached under Surratt, Jessica Williams Crosser graduated and moved on to the pros. Crosser joined the Durham Dragons in 1999 on the Women’s Professional Softball League in North Carolina.

“She was the type of pitcher that could throw it and make them hit it back to her,” said Surratt.

Lori Pearson played as an outfielder for Surratt, and unfortunately she lost the battle last year with breast cancer.

Pearson was a part of the ongoing Never Quit Foundation. “That’s how she played. She never quit.” 

In 1998, she completed her career as the head softball coach giving the university over 100 wins at the district 1 level.

Coach Surratt continued her education until she reached a Masters in Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.

“But don’t ask me to dance,” joked Surratt. “Sports is my avenue. I picked up on it and worked hard.”

MCHS graduate pitcher, Kelcey Amerson will be trying out for UT Martin in the future.

“It’s a different step, playing in college. It’s an experience you can’t replace.”

Mellanie currently works through the school year as the physical education teacher at Selmer Elementary School with her coworker and friend “Lefty” Skelton. She is also an instructor at UT Martin. 

She started as the assistant softball coach under Danny Day in 2002 and moved up to head coach of the McNairy Central Lady Bobcat in 2006.

Under her instruction and guidance over eight players have moved on to play on the collegiate level.

Mellanie initiated the junior high coach position with Selmer Middle after words of encouragement from Lefty and has remained with the program since 2001.

One year the Selmer Lady Lions softball team gave her a warm, genuine gift that has held dear to her heart.  

After losing a close pet companion about 3 months prior, the team told her to hold her hands out and close her eyes.

A baby boy Boston terrier starred up at her with a ribbon tied around his neck that said 2005 County Champs.

And that’s his name, Champ.

“It was a year that we were not going to be that strong. We came in and worked hard and played every pitch.”

Champ has helped out over the years. “He comes to practice and helps us work on our bunt. He’s entertaining.”

A few players still remain with her from 2005 team at the high school level at McNairy Central.

“Coaching becomes your life. Especially in the last few years our program has become more of a family.”

Mellanie Surratt has helped strengthen McNairy County both on and off the field.