A sports enthusiast and coach who had season tickets to Georgia Tech football games for more than 50 years, Nix was president of the Smyrna Senior Softball League for many years until he fell ill in April.
Nix started the senior adult slow-pitch softball league in Marietta in 1989 and took it to Smyrna in 1991. Comprised of seniors ages 50 and up, with games played Mondays and Wednesdays at Tolleson Park, the league had only two teams in the beginning, but it grew to 12 under Nix’s stewardship.
“He got adult softball into the metro area like it never had been before,” said Steve Ciaccio, parks and recreation director for the city of Smyrna. “He was a community guy and a leader who previously managed and coached youth teams in the community before deciding to start softball.”
Smyrna provides the field space for the softball league to play its games. Of the two fields at Tolleson Park, Field B will be renamed “Ken Nix Field” in the late judge’s honor.
“A couple of weeks ago, city leaders decided to make the change and dedicate one of the two fields,” Ciaccio said. “The city got together with the Senior Softball League organizers and we let them know our thoughts. Then, it was just a matter of figuring out what date to have the dedication.
“Nix was a coach and really liked baseball. He turned to softball as he got older and created the league.”
Although the plaque bearing Nix’s name likely won’t be ready in time for the dedication, plans are on schedule for a festive celebration.
The plaque is expected to have one of Nix’s favorite sayings — “Hit ’em, go get ’em and slide both ways” — as part of its etching.
“He was really dedicated to the sport,” Ciaccio said. “It’s a befitting gesture. He was a wonderful guy and available to everybody.”
The dedication ceremony will coincide with the beginning of the senior softball season.
“We thought it would be good to get it done at the beginning of the season, rather than wait,” Ciaccio said. “We want to have the guys playing on it as soon as possible.”