Lynch-inspired Seahawks advance to 4A state final

LL Coach.

The somewhat cryptic rallying cry (Long Live Coach) was all over the standing-room-only Myrtle Beach Tennis Center for Monday’s Class 4A lower state championship match.

It was written on signs, on tennis shoes, on wristbands, and even freshly tattooed on a Myrtle Beach High player’s back. But most of all, it was in the Seahawks’ hearts.

Only eight days after the unexpected death of longtime coach Rivers Lynch, the inspired Seahawks swept Beaufort 6-0 to advance to Saturday’s state final.

“It was always his dream to lead this group to a state championship, and for him to pass away right before this makes it mean even more to us now,” said senior and Lynch’s grandson, John Ed Cahill. “He is definitely looking down on us right now with that famous smile everyone talks about.”

Indeed, Lynch had been grooming this group of Seahawks since he “retired” more than a decade ago with 11 state titles to his credit. He picked up his grandsons and their current teammates every day after school at Myrtle Beach Intermediate and escorted them to the tennis courts for practice before returning to his old job.

Only days away from watching his team go for the ultimate goal, Lynch died of natural causes at the age of 72. Despite his noticeable absence from his perch at the Myrtle Beach Tennis Center, his presence has been unmistakable during the Seahawks’ emotional playoff push.

“I was at Coach’s house having dinner with him and his whole family, then three days later I get a text from one of our assistant coaches saying he had passed away,” said senior Joshua Wallen. “I just couldn’t believe he was gone. I was in tears, and I know all my teammates felt the same way.

“It was hard. The first day back we had one day of practice before our first playoff game against Hilton Head, and that’s the team that knocked us out last year. I remember just taking the court without Coach Lynch here and it was so tough. It was devastating.”

The Seahawks found their footing through the heartache to sweep Hilton Head 6-0, but the toughest test came two days later – just hours after Lynch’s funeral – against South Aiken. Myrtle Beach battled to win four singles matches – all via third-set tiebreakers – to claim a 4-2 win.

“Before my tiebreaker, I didn’t say a word. I was dead silent,” Wallen recalled. “I hit the first ball of the tiebreaker and it was like Coach was there with me. I won 10-1, and all my teammates won their (third sets) too. I just looked up in the sky and said ‘That one’s for you, Coach!’ ”

Myrtle Beach was unstoppable in Monday’s match with Beaufort, winning four singles matches and No. 2 doubles in straight sets. It was only fitting that the clinching match was made by Lynch’s grandson and namesake, Rivers Cahill, who punctuated his No. 1 singles victory with a leaping game-winner.

“It was a great feeling to get that win and know that we are going to the state championship,” he said. “It’s been really hard, but we still feel like he is still here with us.”

In a way, he is.

“It’s definitely not easy. It will never be easy,” said John Ed Cahill. “He was the greatest mentor of my life and I will always miss him. But what he would want is for us take all the lessons he taught us and carry them forward, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Interim coach Jeremy Fingers sees the Seahawks coming together at the right time and defers any credit to his predecessor. “I don’t have anything to do with this,” he said. “This is all about the kids and the impact that Coach Lynch had on their lives. I’m just happy to be here to see it.”

It seems the same lessons Lynch imparted on his players in life continue to guide them after his death. The Seahawks will try to win one more Saturday at 10a .m. against AC Flora at the Cayce Tennis Center in Lexington in hopes of fulfilling their late coach’s mission.

“We’re playing with inspiration and it has really brought us together as a team and as a family,” Wallen said. “Our goal is to win a ring and put it on Coach’s grave. We’re still trying to get our first, but this will be his 12th.”

Like the “LLCoach” motto infers, Lynch’s legacy continues to live on his former players.

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFL

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFLThe past six months have been hectic ones for Hunter [more]

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior Olympics

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sand

Beach volleyball growing on Grand Strand sandWhat was once a leisurely pick-up game on the beach [more]

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haul

NMB boys hoops hopeful Walker in it for long haulNorth Myrtle Beach believes Ryan Walker is the person to [more]

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut

Injury halts former Chant La Stella's All-Star debut Former Coastal Carolina standout and Los Angeles Angels second baseman [more]

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures Game

Pelicans well represented at All-Star Futures GameMyrtle Beach Pelicans’ catcher Miguel Amaya has been selected to [more]

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth Clinic

Baseball bonds all ages at Legends for Youth ClinicEight former big leaguers - and about 60 aspiring ones [more]

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior Olympics

Jordans lead MBTFC to wins at Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program

Hunter brings new energy to MB volleyball program New Myrtle Beach High volleyball coach Alyssa Hunter knows she [more]

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 years

Soccer Locker ready for final horn after 25 yearsA child steps up to the counter to purchase his [more]

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meet

MB Track and Field Club flies high at Florence meetThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club combined boys and [more]

Rivers named honorable mention All-American

Rivers named honorable mention All-AmericanCoastal Carolina senior outfielder Kieton Rivers was recognized as a [more]

Trio of Pelicans pitchers are midseason All-Stars

Trio of Pelicans pitchers are midseason All-StarsMyrtle Beach right-handed pitchers Javier Assad, Jesus Camargo and Paul [more]

Grand Strand rec athletes find passion for pickleball

Grand Strand rec athletes find passion for pickleballNearly 100 local recreational athletes put themselves in a real [more]

CCU football loses legend with retirement of Glenn

CCU football loses legend with retirement of GlennCoastal Carolina football chief of staff and director of football [more]

Chants' season ends with stinging defeat to Jackets

Chants' season ends with stinging defeat to JacketsCoastal Carolina baseball had its season come to an end [more]

Coastal wrangles Rattlers to stay alive in Regional

Coastal wrangles Rattlers to stay alive in RegionalThe Chanticleers took an early 3-0 lead and did not [more]

MB Track & Field Club shines at Club Challenge

MB Track & Field Club shines at Club ChallengeThe Myrtle Beach Track and Field Club welcomed 22 clubs [more]

Chants battered by Tigers, drop into losers bracket

Chants battered by Tigers,  drop into losers bracketCoastal Carolina baseball saw a 2-2 tie disappear in the [more]

Chiefs seeking sixth boys hoops coach in nine years

Chiefs seeking sixth boys hoops coach in nine yearsNorth Myrtle Beach is looking for a new boys basketball [more]

Grand Strand dominates state golf course rankings

Grand Strand dominates state golf course rankings Golfweek has unveiled its annual list of the “Best Courses [more]

Hemingway narrows his college wish list to five

Hemingway narrows his college wish list to fiveTonka Hemingway has played enough games with opposing offensive linemen. He’s [more]

Chants headed to Atlanta, face Auburn in first round

Chants headed to Atlanta, face Auburn in first roundCoastal Carolina baseball received the No. 3 seed in the [more]

Chants dig deep, defend Sun Belt championship

Chants dig deep, defend Sun Belt championshipCoastal Carolina outscored the Georgia Southern Eagles 9-1 over the [more]

Chants take doubleheader, reach Sun Belt title game

Chants take doubleheader, reach Sun Belt title gameThe Chanticleers scored nine runs over the first three innings [more]

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFL

Renfrow comes full circle before making run at NFLThe past six months have been hectic ones for Hunter [more]

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior Olympics

Six MBTFC athletes make National Junior OlympicsThe Myrtle Beach Track & Field Club was represented by [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach