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Coaches
Chris Turco – Head Coach
Contact: chris.turco@cobbk12.org

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2017 will mark the 11th season that Turco has been the head coach for the Greyhounds Fastpitch softball program. In Turco's 10 season with Pope Fastpitch, he has guided the Greyhounds to the GHSA state playoffs 8 times (2006, 2010 - 2016) and advanced to the State finals in Columbus Georgia four times in 2012, 2013,2014, and 2016 finishing in the final 4 all four times and finishing as the AAAAAA State Champions in 2014 and runner up in 2012.

In the Greyhounds most recent softball campaign, Turco returned the Greyhounds to the State championship series in Columbus after a 1 year hiatus from Columbus. This was the Greyhounds 4th trip to Columbus in the past 5 seasons. The 2016 season saw the Greyhounds finish as the region runner up and win playoff series vs. South Paulding and Houston County before finishing 4th place in the state on the final day of the 2016 softball season. The Hounds were led by 2 all state softball players in Hannah Rogers (1st team) and Lea McFadden (2nd team). The 2016 season also saw Turco capture his 200th win on 9/13/16 with a victor over North Atlanta. The Hounds posted a 26-10 record in 2016 which is the 5th season of 20 wins or more for the Hounds and the 4th most wins in Pope history.

Since taking over the Pope program in his first sting in 2006, Turco has been part of many Greyhound "firsts". The 2006 season marked the "1st" time in school history that the Greyhounds advanced to the state playoffs.

In 2010, Turco guided the Greyhounds to their "1st" GHSA playoff wim with a 4-3 victory over Creekview before ultimately falling to the Grizzlies in a best of 3 first round playoff series in a closely fought 3 game series.

In 2011 the Greyhounds won their "1st" playoff series ever when the Hounds swept Dunwoody in the 1st round best of 3 series of the state playoffs. The Hounds made it to the brink of the state finals in 2011, dropping a 3-1 decision to Northwest Whitfield in the 2nd round of the playoffs after having won 3 consecutive playoff games. 2011 was also the "1st" time the Hounds broke the 20 win barrier amassing 25 wins which at the time was a school record.

2012 saw the Greyhounds make their "1st" trip to the state finals in Columbus posting 7 consecutive state tournament wins sweeping Arabia Mountain and Heritage as well as defeating Greenbrier, Loganville and Union Grove in Columbus before being swept by Union Grove in the championship game 1-0 (ITB loss with a Pope no-hitter) and 4-3. 2012 was also the Greyhounds "1st" appearance in the state championship game.

The 2012 season was also the "1st" time the Pope Fastpitch team had captured the region championship as the Hounds defeated Creekview in the 7-AAAAA best of 3 series held on the campus of Pope High School. The region championship game was also Turco's 100th victory of his career which added to the historic night and made for some memorable moments. For his efforts in 2012, Coach Turco was awarded the Cobb County Coach of the Year award by the Marietta Daily Journal, and the Georgia Dugout Club AAAAA Coach of the year award for the state of Georgia.

In 2013, the Greyhounds tied for the region's best record, but were the #3 seed in the region due to tie-breaker procedures. As a 3 seed, the Hounds had to go on the road for the playoffs securing their "1st" playoff road series win in school history at South Paulding and then going to Heritage High School in Conyers to sweep the Patriots and qualify for a return trip to the finals that would ultimately end in a 4th place finish for the Hounds. The Greyhounds would post their "1st" 30 win season in 2013 as the team finished with a 30-11 record.

During the summer of 2014, Turco was awarded one of his highest honors as he was named both Pope High School's most positive coach as well as the most positive coach of a female sport in Cobb County. This award was the inaugural "Positive Coach" award given out at Pope and in Cobb County and was give out by Positive Athlete organization.   (http://georgia.positiveathlete.org)

In 2014 the Hounds were able to secure the elusive State Championship they had been chasing by winning the AAAAAA State Championship on November 1st 2014 which is the "1st" fastpitch softball state championship in Pope history. The Hounds won this championship in dominating fashion as they posted an 8-0 playoff record outscoring their opponents 35-6 over the 8 game span with the championship game coming on the strength of a 4-0 no hitter. In 2014, the Hounds posted their 2nd consecutive 30 win season amassing a school record 32 wins. Turco was awarded multiple honors for his efforts in 2014 including Cobb County Coach of the Year, Georgia Dugout Club AAAAAA coach of the year, and the Georgia Athletic Coach's Association AAAAAA Coach of the Year award. Turco was also selected as the head coach of the North team in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association's North vs. South game played in June 2015 at Shorter University.

In 2015, the Greyhounds continued their legacy of success by qualifying for the 2015 GHSA AAAAAA state playoffs. The softball Hounds became the "1st" Pope team to qualify for the AAAAAAA playoffs each year that Pope played in the largest classification in Georgia. As the #4 seed from the region, Pope traveled to Archer High and ultimately fell in 2 games to the eventual #4 ranked Archer Tigers.

Turco has also coached multiple All region and All county players in his 10 years at the helm of the program as well as 13 All State players, with 6 of these players being named 1st team All State. (Hannah Rogers - 2016, Kelly Barnhill - 2012, 2013 and 2014, Laura Beall 2012, Jenna Reilly 2012). Kelly Barnhill is also the only Pope player in school history to be awarded the GACA Pitcher of the Year award winning the award in consecutive years in 2013 and 2014. Coach Turco has also had the pleasure of seeing 14 of his players go on to play collegiately and 1 player, Kelly Barnhill, being selected to represent America as a player for the National Team (Team USA) in the summer of 2016.

In his 10 seasons, Turco has amassed 211 wins setting a school records for wins in 2014 with 32. Turco has reached the 30 win mark twice in 2013 and 2014.

Coach Turco graduated from Pope High in 1998. Upon graduation from Pope, Coach Turco accepted a baseball scholarship to Presbyterian College. After capping a 4 year all conference career, Coach Turco was retained as a coach of the 2002-2003 Presbyterian College baseball team where he helped to guide the Blue Hose to the South Atlantic Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

Coach Turco returned to Pope in 2003 to teach social studies as well as coach. For the past 14 years, Coach Turco has been an assistant with the baseball program at Pope where he has helped lead the baseball program to 10 state tournament appearances and five region championships in 2009, 2011, 2013,2016, & 2017. Coach Turco has also assisted the baseball program to four state championship appearances in 2009, 2013, 2016 and 2017 with the 2009, 2013, and 2017 teams bringing home state titles. All 4 Pope Baseball teams making appearances in the state championship concluded their respective seasons with national ranking in Baseball America. The 2009 season was Pope's 1st nationally ranked season finishing #10 in the nation, the 2013 season saw Pope finish with a #21 ranking, the 2016 team finished ranked 28th in the nation and the 2017 team finished the season ranked 9th in the country. Turco has also had the pleasure of coaching 11 Pope players who have been selected in the MLB amateur player draft including Joshua Lowe of the 2016 Hounds who was selected 13th overall in the 1st round of the draft.

Turco resides in Woodstock where he lives with his wife Niki.  Niki and Chris have 2 children, Wyatt and Maggie


Al Savransky – Varsity Assistant Coach
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The 2017 season will mark the 9th in which Coach Savransky's has assisted the Pope fastpitch program. In his past eight seasons with Pope fastpitch, Coach Savransky has helped lead the program into the state tournament each year (2006, 2010 - 2016) the only eight state tournament appearances for the program. For his efforts and sacrifices with the 2010 and 2014 seasons, Coach Savrnasky was named as the Georgia Dugout Club Assistant coach of the year.

Hailing from Cleveland Ohio, Coach Savransky was a multi-sport high school athlete who capped his prep career by accepting a wrestling scholarship to the University of Toledo.  After placing in the MAC conference wrestling tournament his freshman year, Coach Savransky moved on to an athletics career at Ohio State University for the remainder of his collegiate years.  Coach Savarnsky ended his collegiate athletic career by assisting his team to a national championship for "THE Ohio State University."

Coach Savransky has a long and distinguished coaching career that has taken him to both Pebblebrook High School and East Cobb Baseball prior to arriving at Pope.  In 2004, Coach Savransky was named East Cobb Baseball "Coach of the year", which is the highest award a coach in that organization can be granted.

The 2017-2018 school year will mark Coach Savransky's 14th at Pope High School.  During Coach Savransky's tenure at Pope he has created quite an impressive coaching legacy.

Coach Savransky has led the junior varsity Pope Baseball team to 3 consecutive region championships (2008, 2009, 2010), and also assisted the 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017 varsity Pope baseball teams to region championships as well as national rankings (10th, 21st, 28th, and 9th respectively). The 2009, 2013, and 2017 baseball teams captured state championships for Pope while the 2016 team finished runner up.

Coach Savransky has made quite an impact on the mat as well helping to lead the Pope Varsity wrestlers to 7 consecutive region championships, 3 runner up finishes in the GHSA AAAAA wrestling tourney (2008-2010) and 5 State Championships with a traditional championship in 2011 and both the traditional and team state championships in 2012 and 2013.  For his efforts with the 2012 team, Coach Savransky was named Cobb County wrestling Coach of the year.  During Savrvanky's 9 year tenure with the wrestling team, he has helped to increase the number of individual wrestlers placing in the state tournament from 10 in the history of the program (1987 - 2003) to 57 (47 state placers in 9 years)!

In 2013, The Marietta Daily Journal did a story about Coach Savarnsky's coaching successes: The Marietta Daily Journal - Success follows Savransky around Pope programs

As the article points out, the softball state championship was an elusive one for Savarnsky, but one he would capture in 2014 as the Hounds were able to post a 32-8 record en-route to Pope High School's first ever AAAAAA championship and Savransky's 8th total State Championship! For Savransky's efforts in the 2014 season, he was awarded the Assistant Coach of the Year award by the Georgia Dugout Club, an award he had won one other time in for his efforts and sacrifices made during the 2010 softball season.

The 2016 season will mark the 8th in which Coach Savransky's has assisted the Pope fastpitch program.  In his past seven seasons with Pope fastpitch, Coach Savransky has helped lead the program into the state tournament each year (2006, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,2014, 2015) the only seven state tournament appearances for the program.

Coach Savransky teaches video production at Pope High School where he is the pioneer of Pope High School's "digital broadcasting" class.  Coach Savransky resides in Marietta Georgia and is father to Michael and Ally Savransky.

Michael Nelson – Varsity Assistant Coach
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Mike Nelson is a 1998 graduate of Lassiter High School who will be coaching his 6th Pope fastpitch season in 2017.  During his time as a baseball player at Lassiter, Mike was part of 2 state runner-up teams in 1995 and 1997 while playing for Hall of Fame coaching legend Mickey McMurtry.

In 2012, Mike was instrumental in Pope Fastpitch's run to the state championship with his outside the box motivational techniques.  During our run Mike's signature moment occurred in early September when he coined the rally cry of "The snowball is rolling" to signify the momentum our team was gaining with each victory we had.  During the months of September and October Pope went 22-1 leading us to the championship game and "growing our snowball" as Mike put it.

Mike's Pope Fastpitch career has known nothing but dominance as the program has qualified for the state playoffs each year of his career finishing in the top 4 in the State 4 of the 5 years he has coached.  For Mike's efforts with the 2014 State Championship team, Mike has been awarded the high honor of being an Assistant coach of the Year by the Georgia Dugout Club.

During Mike's tenure as the JV head coach of the Fastpithc Hounds, he led the Hounds to a school record tying 10 wins in 2015 and 2016. While an assistant with the JV, Nelson was instrumental in their record breaking seasons of 9,9, and 10 wins in 2012 - 2014. The 2014 season of 10 wins was the first time in Pope history that the JV team has posted double digit wins until Nelson's club followed up on the impressive feat in 2015 and 2016 with 10 wins.

Mike earned a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia State University and was a 4 year letterman for the Panthers spending three of the four years as the Panthers starting 2nd baseman.  In 2000, Mike's stellar play earned him a spot on the All-conference tournament team.

After capping off his collegiate playing career, Coach Nelson began his successful baseball coaching career with the Georgia State University baseball staff.  Coach Nelson spent 2 years at Georgia State helping the team to back to back conference tournament appearances for the first time in school history.

Coach Nelson has polished his coaching skills on the summer circuit coaching teams in both the East Cobb Baseball program and the 6-4-3 baseball program.  In 2001, Coach Nelson assisted the 15u East Cobb Astros in winning the AAU national championship while coaching under highly successful former Lassiter head softball coach Scott Kelly.  Currently, Mike serves as a coach for the 6-4-3 Jaguars baseball team.

Mike began his relationship with Pope High School in 2011 assisting the baseball staff as junior varsity assistant and infield coordinator for the 2012 season. In his 7 years with the baseball program, Mike has assisted in leading the Hounds to 3 state championship appearances (2013, 2016, and 2017) while capturing 2 state titles in 2013 and 2017.

Mike resides in Woodstock with his wife Carla and daughter Avery.

Natalie Lampert - Head Junior Varsity Coach / Assistant Varsity
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Natalie Lampert is a 2011 graduate of Pope High School who returns to her alma mater in 2015 for her inaugural year with Pope Fastpitch.  Natalie was a member of the 2010 Pope softball team that secured Pope's first ever playoff victory against Creekview High School in the 2010 playoffs.  The 2010 team set the school record for wins (at that time) with 19.  For her efforts in her senior season of 2010, Natalie was named to the All-State softball team as an outfielder joining fellow Pope coach Jennifer Miller as the 1st 2 Pope players ever awarded that prestigious honor.  Natalie's 2010 team was instrumental in the creation and implementation of Pope Fastpitch's tradition of creating a team "Mission Statement" and Natalie was part of Pope Fastpitch's inaugural class of "Mission Protectors."

Lampert was instrumental in assisting the JV team to a record tying 10 wins in 2015 and 2016 and is looking forward to attempting to break the 10 win barrier during her inaugural year as head jv coach in 2017. Natalie was very helpful in assisting the varsity team to the playoffs in 2015 and 2016 and she was instrumental in the Greyhounds Final 4 run this past season. The 2016 season continues a streak of 7 straight state playoff appearances started by Lampert's senior class at Pope back in 2010.

After graduating from Pope, Natalie continued her playing career for coach Jamie Grodecki at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville Georgia.  At GCSU, Natalie was part of the winningest team in school history as the 2013 team posted a then school record 37 wins.  Natalie brings a wealth of experience to the Greyhounds after having played in 85 college games and playing an important role in the GCSU outfield where Natalie made only 1 career error during her college tenure.  Twice Natalie posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in the OF (2012, 2014).  Natalie was a also a force on the bases for GCSU posting a career 83% success rate in stolen bases while scoring 43 career runs.

Natalie teaches at Mt. Bethel Elementary school in the special education department and resides in Acworth Ga.

Jennifer Miller – Pitching Coach
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Jennifer Miller is a 2007 graduate of Pope High School who returns to her alma mater for her 7th season with Pope Fastpitch.  Coach Miller serves primarily as varsity assistant with the Pope staff specifically filling the role of being the program's pitching coach.

As head JV coach with Pope fastpitch program, Coach Miller has been a picture of consistency winning a team record 9 JV games 3 years in a row from 2011 - 2013 and then breaking the team record for wins in 2014 posting Pope's 1st ever double digit win season with 10 victories.  Coach Miller has built the foundation for a winning attitude amongst Greyhound players at the sub varsity level.

The Pope pitching staff has also flourished seeing the single season records for pitching wins broken three times (15,19, and 29) and the virtual rewriting of the pitching record books in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons with the impressive stats posted by the Pope pitching staff setting new records in almost every category. Under Miller's guidance, the 2015 Greyhounds pitching staff set a new school record for saves in a season with 5 saves besting the previous school record of 2. Trinity Pizzuti has become the programs all time saves leader under Miller tutelage posting 4 career saves.

Jennifer has been instrumental in helping the varsity Hounds qualify for the state finals in Columbus three years in a row (2012 - 2014) and she is extremely influential in assisting the team and especially our pitching staff in winning the 2014 AAAAAA State Championship.  For her efforts with the 2014 team, Jennifer has been recognized by the Georgia Dugout Club as a 2014 assistant coach of the year.  This honor is the highest honor that an assistant coach in the state of Georgia can receive. Also, for her efforts with the Pope pitching staff in 2014, Jennifer was named to the GACA North All Star coaching staff as the North All Star pitching coach.

Jennifer's record setting prep career is very visible in the Pope record books as she is listed in many categories cementing her place as one of Pope Fastpitch's best pitchers ever.  Jennifer is only one of two Greyhounds to throw multiple no hitters in her career as she tossed two no hitters while at Pope, the second coming against Kell High School in the region tournament to power the Greyhounds to their first state tournament appearance ever.  Jennifer is also one of only two pitchers in the history of the program to post an ERA less than 1.00 for the season as she put up an impressive 0.75 ERA as a senior.  During one stretch in her record breaking senior season, Jennifer's pitched 31 1/3 consecutive innings without surrendering a run.  Jennifer's accomplishments during her senior year ultimately led her to becoming the first Pope player ever named to the All-State team garnering 2nd team honors for her efforts in 2006.

Upon graduation from Pope, Jennifer accepted a softball scholarship to play for Melissa Mullins at Augusta State University in Augusta Georgia (now Georgia Regents University).  As a Jaguar, Jennifer had 37 appearances in the circle tossing 7 complete games (2 of which were shutouts) and racking up 12 wins and 2 saves while holding hitters to a paltry .221 average against.  In 2009, Jennifer's Augusta state team qualified for the NCAA tournament for only the 2nd time at that point in Augusta State history eventually falling to # 1 ranked North Georgia College in the regional championship game.

Jennifer brings a wealth of experience to the Greyhound coaching staff as she also serves as a pitching and hitting instructor at Champions Fastpitch Academy in Marietta, Ga.  Jennifer also teaches 4th grade at Eastside Elementary school in the Cobb County School district.

Ellie Viland - Assistant Junior Varsity and Varsity Coach

Viland is a 2014 graduate of Pope High School who joined her alma maters coaching staff during the 2016 season after serving as the head coach of the Pope summer team. As a player in the Pope program, Ellie was one of the 1st 4 year letter winners in Pope Fastpitch history and led her team to consecutive trips to Columbus in 2012 and 2013 finishing 2nd and 4th respectively.

Viland is a familiar face in the Cobb County softball scene having spent time as both a player in the area and as an umpire at Sandy Plains softball association.

Viland will serve primarily as an assistant on the junior varsity staff in 2017 as she puts the finishing touches on her college bachelors degree which she is anticipated to receive in the spring of 2018.

Laura Potts - Volunteer Assistant Coach

Coach Potts will be assisting the softball team in a volunteer capacity for the 2nd consecutive year in 2017. Potts works at Pope High School in the counseling department and has a background in softball having played middle infield collegiately at division 2 power house Carson Newman College in Jefferson City TN.

Potts will work primarily with the junior varsity team in 2017.