The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

Ms. Day speaks to Hockaday students as well as other students in the Dallas area as part of her role to involve Hockaday students in the community and lead them to fulfill their purpose.
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Celebrating the Head of Athletics

Looking back on Coach Surgi’s time at Hockaday

When Coach Deb Surgi arrived at Hockaday in 2018, the athletics program was very different from the incredible program we know now. A previous Fourcast article, written in 2018, described athletics as a “forgotten cornerstone.” However, Surgi decided to change that. 

Through her time at Hockaday, Coach Surgi has transformed sports at Hockaday with her work on the new athletic facilities, her contributions to school spirit, the culture of athletics at Hockaday and her dedication to giving every student the opportunity to enjoy sports. 

She will retire at the end of this school year. 

Accomplishments and Highlights 

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During her six years at Hockaday, the athletics program reached new heights with numerous accomplishments achieved. 

In total, 10 SPC championships were won throughout these years. 

During the 2021-2022 sports year, Hockaday received the SPC Athletic Directors’ Cup, which had last been won in 2011. This award recognizes the top overall girls’ athletic program in all SPC. 

Finally, Hockaday experienced a record number of college-committed athletes during her leadership. 

Junior Mae Flanagan has worked with Coach Surgi through her time on the Athletic Board. 

“She’s been really central in planning everything we do,” Flanagan said. “She’s become the embodiment of Hockaday athletics.” 

Flanagan said that Coach Surgi was essential to the planning of events like spirit nights, pep rallies, and more. She also had a key role in the design of the new athletic facilities. 

“She has a contagious energy and spirit, especially with the daisy mascot,” Flanagan said. 

New Sports Facilities 

Coach Surgi was instrumental in the design process for the Athletics and Wellness Project. This includes the new fields, track, Cornerstone Plaza, cross country trail, batting cages and more. 

Surgi emphasized that the process was a big team effort, and that many people contributed to make the athletic facilities what they are today. She said she values the input from the community and students in the design. 

“One of our main goals was to provide community spaces and build a connection between the academic buildings and the athletic venues,” Surgi said.  

She said she loves seeing ways the new athletic facilities have brought students together across all grades and divisions. Before the new facilities’ construction, the sports areas were separated from campus, creating a disconnect between athletics and academics. 

“When you’re looking at the Athletics and Wellness project, there should be no doubt now about our commitment to athletics,” Surgi said. 

Fostering School Spirit 

Surgi’s strong commitment to sports and her belief that “there is an athlete in every one of us” has greatly impacted the Hockaday sports community. 

“I think sports allows for making connections with teammates, representing your school with pride and showing your spirit.” Surgi said.  

She introduced the Hockaday Athlete of the Week, which recognizes athletes’ hard work, and avidly promotes the saying “Protect the Meadow.” 

Surgi believes the saying “Protect the Meadow,” which was created by students, has brought the Hockaday community together even more, adding to school spirit.  

“Whether you’re going to a speech and debate tournament, taking the stage at ISAS or running out onto the turf field to take on another school, we’re all protecting the meadow,” Surgi said. “It’s sort of our rallying cry.” 

She also emphasized how athletics are for everyone and connect everyone, from a third grader watching her sister play, to someone cheering their friend on in the stands, to the athlete on the field playing. 

Jade, the new Daisy mascot, debuted this year with the support of Surgi. When Coach Surgi arrived at Hockaday, the Athletic Board was contemplating changing the mascot. Many people viewed the daisy as a “weak mascot” when compared to other mascots and believed it should have been changed to something more representative of our school’s strength. Eventually, however, they decided we needed to be proud of it. 

The initial idea for Jade, like “Protect the Meadow”, was created by a student. The design process took a while to get right, but it eventually worked out, resulting in Jade the Daisy. 

“I think it’s another point of pride,” Surgi said. “It’s another way to promote spirit and bring people together in a joyful way.” 

Looking Toward the Future 

Although this is her last year at Hockaday, Surgi is confident that the athletics program will continue to grow and evolve in new ways. 

“I think everyone who is in a leadership role has a certain set of goals that are needed at that moment in time,” Surgi said. “And I think that as I depart, there will be a new set of goals to be addressed.” 

Surgi’s said her greatest hope is that the community continues to value athletics and school spirit like it does now. 

Flanagan is also hopeful for the future of Hockaday athletics. 

“The community will look really different without Coach Surgi and we’re going to miss her a lot, but I think Coach Johnson will do an amazing job as the interim director,” Flanagan said. 

“I hope that never again will students have to say that the cornerstone of athletics has been forgotten,” Surgi said. 


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About the Contributor
Emily McLeroy
Emily McLeroy, Staff Writer