DDYSL honors late coach, proclaims Rusty Byars Day

From left, Carrie Jackson,; Ludie, Mary and Janet Byars

From left, Carrie Jackson, Ludie, Mary and Janet Byars

Opening Day of Demopolis’ Dixie Youth Softball League took on special significance Monday at the Sports-Plex, as players, coaches, parents, fans and league officials honored the late Rusty Byars and his family.

“Rusty represented everything great about youth sports,” League President Carrie Jackson told the crowd. “He was a previous board member and a coach, and was the elder statesman of Demopolis softball.”

Mary Byars prepares to throw the first pitch in her father's memory.

Mary Byars prepares to throw the first pitch in her father’s memory.

Byars, who recently passed away unexpectedly, will now be a part of Demopolis Youth Softball forever, as the League presented a proclamation from Mayor Mike Grayson naming Monday and every future Opening Day “Rusty Byars Day.”

Additionally, Jackson said this season will be dedicated to Byars, and each player will wear “RB” on her uniform sleeve.

Byars’ daughter Mary threw out the ceremonial first pitch to her father’s long-time friend and assistant coach, Curtis Vaughan, and Byars’ family was also presented his jersey as a memento of the evening.

Prior to the ceremony, teams and coaches making up this year’s league were introduced and then stood on the field to join in the recognition of Byars’ contributions to Demopolis softball.